By Hershall Walker
The blazing days of a long summer have come and gone, the air is getting colder and the leaves are fading to rust. Football is back on T.V., pumpkin spice lattes are here, and the fall semester is underway. There is no denying that Autumn is a special time of year for many reasons. Sports men and women across the country are digging up their backcountry gear out of the closet, in preparation to take to the woods. Long ago a connection between human and nature was made, without the concrete jungles and without a phone screen blocking our vision. Those who take to the woods seek something other than the artificial happiness materialistic objects bring, they seek the freedom and release found in nature.
Much of our youth struggles with the question of where they belong and how it all works. The simplicity, the tests and the adrenaline rush in nature are why people are drawn to it. Those who throw themselves in to it find the true meaning of being alive. Sadly much of the fire within us has died out and has landed us on the couch. Get out and challenge yourself, the human body is a powerhouse, but be humble because nature will put you on your ass.
Certainly we can enjoy eating six-dollar cheeseburgers from McDonalds, but when we head to the wild places left on this planet unscathed by human impact and development, we feel alive. By hunting it builds a respect for the animals that feed us and the meal becomes much more meaningful. Hunters from a bond with nature like no other harnessing the resources provided. It can be a harsh sport withstanding days, weeks, sometimes months of nature’s relentless and unforgiving exposure.
I seek out that connection in nature, to feel one with the water while kayaking, or rising up for a hike in the area, but nothing compares to when I take to the field in pursuit of wild game. It transcends the emotional connection, and is supplemented by a physical connection. After long days spent climbing over rocks, hiking miles upon miles and sleeping in the rain, every sportsman and woman hope to come out with a hearty reward. With this and the killing of an animal comes a great sense of responsibility and gratitude. It feeds not only our bodies, but our souls with an undeniable sense of being, belonging, and truth. The truth of why and what we are. Helping us to understand our place, and ensuring an appreciation for life. It is easy to dismiss the essentials that life needs in order to continue, the cost of being alive. Becoming a hunter gives you a great appreciation for life and the outdoors. Only when we go out to experience nature will we understand and love the natural world around us and seek to protect and sustain it for future generations to enjoy.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and drink from the fresh high-country streams, sleep amongst the trees, and if you’re lucky, eat those beautiful wild grass-fed beasts that roam the savage places left pristine and free from the costly impacts of our modern lives. Whether you fill your tag or not, maybe you will find what you are looking for.