by Leon Archer
If I had $20 for every time a hunting trip didn’t go as planned, I might not be a millionaire, but I could certainly take a couple of really nice cruises. Even with good planning, there are so many variables that can go awry when it comes to hunting. The “sure things” often turn out to be not quite as sure as one thinks. But not getting whatever one is hunting for is not one of the things I think of as going wrong; it’s just why they call it hunting, not shooting or killing.
I am not a person who has to come home with game in order for a hunting trip to be enjoyable, but I am honest enough to admit that it is always my overarching purpose, and returning home with a deer, turkey, or whatever critter I went after is usually much more successful in my estimation.
I know guys who claim that just being out in the woods is enough for them; they could care less about shooting anything.
While I understand what they are attempting to say, I’m also pretty sure they don’t carry old betsy just for ballast.
The Indians had a name for braves who claimed they enjoyed a day in the forest just as much without bringing home anything for the pot as they would have if they had won the tribe’s big buck contest. The name translates loosely in English as “poor hunter.”
To be sure, true hunting usually includes a lot of time for observing the flora and fauna of the natural world. The hunter may bask in his surroundings and he may revel for a short time in the freedom from the more mundane and troublesome things in life, but whatever peripheral attributes hunting may have for the hunter, it eventually requires the final move or it is not hunting. The noted Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset, wrote, “One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted.”
I am not sure I completely agree with the illustrious philosopher, but it does help illustrate what I’m saying. If someone never kills his prey, then he is only spending a lot of time taking long walks outdoors. Most hunters may say the day spent hunting without success is just as rewarding as a successful day, but I believe that may be more fluff than substance.
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