It’s almost time. I’ve been waiting for two years and now the adventure is near. I feel as if I’m not prepared although I’ve got more than enough food and gear and am in as good a shape as I’ve been in in 20 years. I’ve got great hunting partners along with a pocket full of tags. The anticipation is overwhelming right now but it will be over before I know it. Will it be a success? Sure it will. I’ll bring home memories regardless of the outcome. That’s the point. Well, part of the point. I really like eating meat. That’s the other portion of why I pour so much effort into my hunts. Meat. Yep. That’s it.
I’ve always been in the camp of enjoying the experience regardless of whether their was a kill or not. Fortunately there hasn’t been many seasons I went without so I was always happy at the end of the year. This time feels different for some reason. I am getting an over riding sense that I need to fill my elk tag this year. NEED. I can’t explain it. Right now I can’t help but think that no kill = disappointment. It shouldn’t. I’ll be spending a week unplugged in the mountains with good company. That in itself should be a reward.
Is it the two years I have spent prepping my body? Is it the thousands of dollars I have in tags and drop camp fees? Is it the precious time I will be spending away from my family? Leaving them is not easy and it makes life difficult for them with their husband and dad gone. Are my personal memories enough to justify the increased stress on my wife and kids? Certainly not. However, hundreds of pounds of nourishing meat sure would, right? Is it guilt on my end for doing something I love and just feeling that it’s my responsibility to bring something back to share?
Could it be the thought of going through all this effort and writing about it and coming back looking like a failure to my peers and readers? I don’t think so, I’ve been around enough to know that nothing is guaranteed. That’s part of the journey. If you’ve never come home empty handed then you haven’t been hunting long.
Oh, I bet it’s the thought blowing the chance once I get there. The nervousness and angst of screwing up my shot when I get it. That could be. No one wishes that nightmare upon themselves. It’s happened to me and its tough to live with. But I’ve persevered through that cycle before. Not particularly fun, but manageable.
I really don’t know why I’m feeling what I’m feeling right now. Perhaps that’s a sign I need to get out there. I’ve been away too long. My life is full of stresses. Maybe they’re making me feel like I need to prove my worthiness, to no one but myself. I’m hoping it’s just a lapse in my mental fortitude and as I’m liberated by the cool mountain air I’ll snap back into moment. I’ll realize that just being there is what we strive for. Then again, you can’t eat just being there. You eat meat.
Why did people ever start hunting? It wasn’t for the memories I can assure you of that. When did it switch from a means of survival to it being OK coming home with just a bag full of happy thoughts? Or did it? Then it was survival due to the requirement to eat. Now is it survival from a mental capacity? There’s a thought. Its not body nourishment, it’s mind and soul food.
When I sat down to write this I actually planned to tell you some of things I intended to do on an upcoming hunt to hopefully put me in the drivers seat. They were things I’ve learned from past experience that I was going to apply from the onset of the hunt and hope that they proved advantageous as in the past. But when I sat down and started typing that is not at all what came out. I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe in the next weeks I’ll figure it out. Whatever it is. Perhaps I do just need to get away to reset. Only time will tell. Until then, good luck on your adventures and whatever it is you’re looking for.