When the Big Game Hunting season officially came to a conclusion on Sunday, Dec. 8, I expect there were many sportsmen and women celebrating another year of outdoor adventures.
Whether a tag was filled during their annual fall forays is likely inconsequential.
Too often, there is too much emphasis placed on the “take,” with little regard for the “give.”
After having spent many of my years in the pursuit of fish, fowl and game, I’ve come to realize and understand the true rewards.
Certainly, there are benefits of the wild harvest which may include medallions of venison loin, smoked wild turkey or fresh salmon. These are the tangible, and tasteful rewards of the hunt.
Such physical aspects of the wild pursuit and harvest are readily available. But what’s often overlooked are an equal measure of benefits that are rarely considered, except by those who share them of course.
Surely there are the physical health benefits achieved through long hours of hiking, climbing and occasionally dragging. There are also the important skill sets required in the process of putting together the necessary organization, planning and preparation to put on the hunt.
It has been widely acknowledged that any amount of time we spend in natural surroundings is more beneficial than a comparable duration of time spent indoors.
In fact, it is likely the camaraderie and regular tomfoolery of camp life that remains the most overlooked aspect of the sporting life. There is no sleep so deep to compare with a camp sleep.
Despite the usual snoring, wheezing and an occasional toot or two, there is nothing like a soft bed and a warm stove to restore the weary bones and sore muscles of a hunter who’s been busy tromping through the thick woods since before dawn.
Camp life is an experience that provides great stress relief, offers fine companionship and delivers a host of other positive benefits, including personal responsibility, punctuality and of course, compassion, communication and freedom.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.