I had the wonderful opportunity and privilege to be able to hunt more this season than any other. I managed to make it out to the deer blind for 67 different sets this year and am already trying to figure out ways to make it out more next year. Minus our anterless season in January, today was our last day of deer season, here in Kansas, and my last opportunity to be able to shoot a big buck.
I don’t know as if I’ve ever experienced anything like bow hunting. The highs and lows that come with it, make me question every year, whether or not I’m bipolar. From a giddy girl to a pouty 5 year old, bow hunting seems to magnify every emotion a man has... and even some he didn’t know he had or will even admit to having. And THAT’S why I continue to do it, year in and year out.
My year as a whole seemed to have more lows than highs and more disappointments than exciting moments and with a buck tag still setting in my wallet as we speak, one would think that it wasn’t a very successful season and might even question why anyone would ever want to do it. But for all of us who have experienced it, know that hunting is more than just the killing of an animal.
As I set in the blind a couple weeks ago, with only a few more days left to fill my buck tag, you would think that there would have been a since of urgency to fill my tag... and while that urgency to “fill your tag” is always there, I actually had moment that was quite the opposite. As I was setting there in my blind, I was pondering the idea of shooting my buck and “tagging out” for the year and even though that always seems to be our goal and the pinnacle of our season, as a hunter, I also had a another moment where I realized that if I did in fact shoot my buck that evening, my season would be over and there’d be no reason for me to go out anymore. It was in that moment that I realized, that we as “hunters” enjoy the pursuit of a wild animal, almost as much as shooting the animal. The harvesting of the animal just so happens to be the reason why we hunt.
“That’s why they call it huntin and not killin” is a famous saying amongst hunters, one that I used to think was just a neat little quote, to help us as hunters cope with an unsuccessful hunt. That it was just our way, of letting each other know that we don’t suck at hunting. But after many years of hunting and having had many days of “killing” (some might even say slaughter :) and many days of hunting, I am glad that it’s called “hunting” and not “killing”. If you shot something EVERY time you went out, it would get old real quick (that and the fact that we’d all run out of animals to shoot pretty quick). Not only would it get old real quick, because of how easy it was, but there’d also be a whole list of things that we would never experience as hunters, things that only the pursuit of the animal can bring. There’d be tons of stories that would never be shared and a lot of relationships that never would have formed, because it’s in the midst of the hunt, that most of these things happen. It’s while we’re in the midst of pursuing these wild animals, that most of our joys and experiences as hunters happen.
So even though my 2012 buck tag will never be filled, my 2012 season was one of the fullest seasons I’ve ever had. I spent more time in the woods this year, than any other year and it was in the midst of pursuing these animals, that allowed me to experience more joys than before.