As I write this, I can barely feel my hands as I sit 20 feet up in a cedar tree during the second week of November – supposedly, during the peak of the whitetail rut. Despite countless hours of scouting, hanging stands, checking cameras, and learning deer movements, I have yet to see a deer.
This day in age, we are all too familiar with Generation Y – also known as millennials. Those within this generation were born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s and are associated with plenty of negative connotations. In fact, I would be willing to bet that by me simply mentioning the term, several of those negative characteristics have begun to infiltrate your mind.
I will never forget the last time I saw my great- grandmother Connie, my granddad’s mom. She was in a nursing home, her body and mind destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease while my grandpa cried and my grandmother tried to convince her that we were her family and that she really did know us. I was only 12 years old, and it’s a memory forever seared in my brain. Flash-forward 26 years and I’m in the one room assisted living facility that my grandparents shared due to the ravages of neurological disease. Alzheimer’s Disease was now my grandfather's life, like his mother’s. Most days it was the same heartbreaking conversation “ Where do you live? How old are you? What’s your name? That was until he couldn’t talk anymore.
Traditional hunting is not something that most people can just jump in to. Many of those who hunt today, likely grew up in a hunting family or had a mentor who they have followed such as a father, grandfather, uncle, or family friend. With the vast majority of the hunting culture being lost with urban civilization, knowing where to start in your quest to learn more about this lifestyle can be difficult.
In my near 3 decades of hunting and backcountry experiences, I've hit a point in life where I actually prefer to hunt alone. The solitude I enjoy in the wild creates an intense appreciation for all things nature offers. Loneliness gives way to clarity, which allows me to fully appreciate and understand the meaning of why I'm there. It’s also true that I’m a born introvert. I feel energized by time alone with just my thoughts. NIn my near 3 decades of hunting and backcountry experiences, I've hit a point in life where I actually prefer to hunt alone. The solitude I enjoy in the wild creates an intense appreciation for all things nature offers. Loneliness gives way to clarity, which allows me to fully appreciate and understand the meaning of why I'm there. It’s also true that I’m a born introvert. I feel energized by time alone with just my thoughts. No outside voices or influence, other than the sometimes deafening sound of creeks, storms or wildlife.o outside voices or influence, other than the sometimes deafening sound of creeks, storms or wildlife.
Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. I didn’t wake up to flowers, breakfast in bed, or on a beach in Costa Rica. My morning consisted of doing dishes, folding laundry, cooking breakfast, feeding the chickens, hanging with my girls, and writing this blog. Ryan didn’t get a day off, a good morning kiss, or breakfast at all- he had to wake at 3 am to go to work because it’s Wednesday, a sturgeon opener, and he has a lot of people at work counting on him. We didn’t get each other gifts, we didn’t have an elaborate plan, or a plan at all. This is called life, and it’s not an Instagram dream.
If you are a male hunter, or are in a relationship with one, it’s obvious that biochemistry takes control over one’s mind and body when it’s time to go into the backcountry. For many thousands of years, man was raised to be part of nature and it’s cycles, and with the changes of the seasons, the male’s hormonal system adapted to the ways of living that demanded fitness, focus, and fortitude.