Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity. -Paulo Coelho
We have all had those moments on a hunt where it feels like everything that could go wrong has. Blown stalks, broken gear, weather, hunters on every ridge, not an animal in sight. We all are given a choice in moments likes this; we can give up and go home (you will never fill a tag from your couch), or we can push on further than everyone else and not give up until we find our quarry. In other words we can endure.
Every tag that we draw or purchase is a contract you make with your soul. It is like saying “I promise to give my all to be successful in this endeavor and not give up until I succeed!” In this fast paced, microwave world we live in today, going into the wild to hunt for our own nourishment is one thing that keeps us grounded in what we are.
I used to call it “Filling my cup of life” but Kimberly made fun of me a little too much for that.
The hardest thing to do is stay positive in the face of adversity. I can admit that I have had moments where I have thought I couldn’t walk another step. I have woken up at 4 am with my whole body just aching and thought it would be so much easier just to stay in bed all day. I have been so cold I couldn’t stop shaking, and I have been so overheated I had to take a nap in the shade to cool off. In these moments I remember back to the months without a hunting season.
Hunters today have an advantage over hunters of previous generations. We hunt all hunt for different reasons. We don’t have to hunt for survival, we chose to hunt because that is who we are. Hunting is what we do. Enduring the struggle defines us.
Just remember all the long hard days of the year we struggle through without hunting, the next time you face a little adversity on your hunt. And endure.
Last year Kimberly and I drew Coues deer tags here in an Arizona unit we had scouted all summer (I filled my OTC archery tag in the first week of September, so we could focus solely on getting her first Coues). We went into the hunt with our confidence and hopes as high as possible. After the first day of the hunt we knew that to fill her tag we were going to have to endure the heat, the wind, and other hunters everywhere.
We did just that. We pushed in further from the roads to get away from the hunters. We glassed into the wind to find the deer bedded out of the wind. We never gave up on the hunt. We endured everything and Kimberly shot her first Coues deer on the last day we were able to hunt.
We could have easily given up and gone home. Away from the wind and heat. Instead we chose to endure all the struggles and “Fill our cup of life” and her tag.
As hunters we spend our entire year waiting for hunting season. So why would we give up on what we dream about 365 days a year just because success doesn’t come easy? We must endure!