I’m a bowhunter. Passionate about the game I pursue, obsessive about my approach, and appreciative about the opportunity to do what I love. My primal instincts to hunt are not something that I chose. I was born with it. If you have it, you know what I’m talking about.
Born and raised an outdoorsman, from fishing in the summer months to chasing upland game and waterfowl in the fall and winter. The hunter gatherer in me was instilled at a very young age. Not until a new challenge presented itself did I realize the passion that I had. A stick and string to kill an animal? Challenge accepted. I was not yet prepared for the compulsive nature that followed.
The funny thing is that as a bowhunter I actually enjoy the preparation and pursuit just as much, if not more, than the kill itself. As a young hunter I would measure success by the number of animals that fell from the squeeze of my trigger. Now I measure success more in memories than the kill itself. I respect the game that I pursue on a level that allows guilt to creep in when I am fortunate enough to have my arrow find its mark. I’m appreciative for what the animal has given.
To me, being a bowhunter is more about a mindset than a title. It’s an experience that I wish everyone could understand. The thought of sitting idle for hours while waiting for one opportunity that transpires and ends in seconds, sounds crazy to most. For bowhunters, it’s what we thrive for. You see, as a bowhunter it’s an appreciation for the surroundings and watching everything unfold around you without it knowing you are there. Watching the sun rise as the woods awaken, giving way to another beautiful fall day. Or watching the sun set as another day ends, while mother nature and her creatures willfully give way to darkness.
I like the feeling of playing a game of chess with a creature that has natural instincts to keep it from falling prey to predation. I consider myself a steward of the land, and always try to leave things better than the way I found them. I believe in conservation and selective harvest and only kill animals that I will consume. I know that my good fortune as a born-and-raised Midwesterner should not be taken for granted, and I continue to be thankful for the opportunities I have been given.
As a bowhunter I hold myself to a higher standard, and I hold myself accountable to the reputation of all other bowhunters as I know that my actions can, and will be, construed as a representation of how others view fellow bowhunters. I consider bowhunters true conservationists and good stewards of the land. I want to celebrate the successes and learn from the failures of others. I will celebrate their triumphs and mourn their missed opportunities or failed attempts.
So, at the end of the day when someone asks me if I hunt, I tell them:
I don’t just hunt, iBowhunt.