As I start to prepare mentally and physically for the fast-approaching archery season, I find myself focusing on what’s really important: the community of the hunt.
When I was younger, I was all about the trophy and the kill. Don’t get me wrong: Monster bucks still get my heart racing. But I’ve found that hunting gives me way more than a trophy on the wall and a full freezer. Now that I have grey in my beard and have logged many a hunting season, I can honestly say bowhunting for me means so much more than the hunt. It’s a chance to encounter my creator’s palette. There’s nothing like watching beautifully brushed leaves drift down to earth, feeling the brisk chill in your face, or listening to geese announcing the arrival of fall….
Archery and bowhunting have also brought meaning to my life and a lifelong bond with family and friends.
Here’s the thing. Bowhunters are typically lone wolves. By its nature, bowhunting is a one-on-one hunt. It’s all about the hunter and the game! There’s not a lot of room for error; the more hunters, the more mistakes. But as the years pass, I’ve also realized that bowhunting has brought me closer to people and other bowhunters.
Bowhunting is about community. It’s a tribal affair. It’s about family and friends, about relationships and shared passion! Bowhunters are members of a much larger community that reaches out past borders and timelines.
I think about hunters from the distant past and how they played the highest role in human cultures. They were the suppliers of food and life. I think about the celebrations built around the successful hunt and the importance of the kill, the gathering of tribes, friends, and most important, families! This is something bowhunters consciously know, but also feel deep in their souls; bowhunting fulfills the primal essence of man.
Bowhunting has been catalyst for building the best friendships. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the excitement on a buddy’s face after a successful hunt, or being there for the frustrating failures. It’s the foundational glue that bonds lifelong friendships!
Bowhunting also gives me the chance to give back by teaching the next generation of archers and hunters. That is, investing in their futures and building the foundation of what it means to take, and more importantly, what it means to give back. Teaching them about the joy of the hunt, and the sadness of the harvest, that the taking of a life shouldn’t be taken lightly because we’re all connected.
As the father of an almost 15-year-old young man, I have seen all of this come together. My son, Dake, lives nearly 2 hours away. Bowhunting has given us quality time and memories that will last a lifetime. Like when Dake walked up on his first bow kill, a huge monster doe! I’ll never forget the excitement in his eye. As a bowhunter, I’ve come full circle—the passing on of the sport to my son. Like I’ve given to him, I know he’ll hand down the archery heritage to his kids.
So as a bowhunter preparing for the upcoming season, the thought of exciting encounters, beautiful sunrises, and sharing the emotional rollercoaster we call bowhunting with friends and family puts a smile on my face….
I’ve found the meaning of what I do…. A shared passion!