Written by Brooklee Grant, Member of Pulsar’s Pro Staff
The time of year is here when we get a lot less sleep than usual and aren’t even mad about it—that’s right, it’s time to go hunting!
We’ve worked all year preparing by scouting out spots, managing food plots, running game cameras, and keeping feeders full. As the countdown begins, I find myself checking through my equipment regularly to make sure I have everything I need for opening day. I get so pumped about new hunting gear I can hardly stand it. I call my Dad the moment any box carrying new gear arrives. My most recent is a Sightmark riflescope and binoculars. The clarity is amazing and will make counting the points on bucks a breeze, but as I look over my new stuff, I think to myself, “Is all of this really necessary?” I can’t help but want top-of-the-line equipment to better my chances in the field, but I know I get too caught up in these great products when I should be taking a step back and enjoy hunting season for true meaning.
Technology and the invention of new and innovative gear make hunting easier and often vastly improves our chances at filling a tag. In the past ten years, innovative changes have flooded the hunting scene, including a wide variety of camo patterns, modernized clothing, upgraded optics, better-quality ammunition, superior scent elimination, and high-tech game cameras. However, this technology also serves as a distraction from what our focus should really be on—enjoying the adventure.
Everyone now thinks spraying down with odor eliminating spray is a must, or there’s not a chance you’ll see a deer. Or, my personal favorite, people believe if the hunter isn’t thoroughly camouflaged the deer will see him and he’ll never even get a shot off. I’ve heard stories my whole life about how my Dad and Uncle would go out in their everyday clothes, drive a few sizable nails in a tree, throw a board between the fork of the tree, climb on up, and sit for an entire afternoon. Back then and even now, my Dad doesn’t need a backpack full of gear to go bag a trophy buck. The essentials for a successful hunt are an adequately sighted-in rifle sighted and some quality ammunition. We forget about the fundamentals of hunting, the most essential and basic skills can’t be bought, like being quiet and still. A $1,500.00 scope isn’t going to do you much good if you scare the deer off by being loud or moving around too much. Hunting is about much more than our equipment. We hunters need to step back and focus on what’s important.
People will hit the woods and fields this fall across the United States for various reasons. Some just enjoy taking in the great outdoors. Many love the challenge and thrill of the hunt, and others use it as an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. Many people go out solely to get meat, provide for their family, and put food on the table. We often use hunting as an escape from the hectic world we live in and the stressors that go with it. We all get preoccupied trying to have the best rifle and scope, or the best place to hunt and consume ourselves with insignificant things like matching camo from head to toe. The extra bells and whistles make hunting easier and often improve our chances at filling a tag, but also might serve as a distraction from our primary focus. Whatever your reason for getting out in the field may be, it’s imperative to get out, enjoy yourself and honor tradition.
It’s not always a competition about who bags the biggest buck of the year. Hunting is an amazing and wonderful gift we take for granted. It brings people together regardless of income, age, where you’re from, or experience level. We won’t always agree on what weapon to use or on someone else’s hunting practices; but as long as the law is being followed, don’t bash someone because they choose to hunt differently than you. We hunters must stick together because those who are anti-hunting create enough backlash and negative commentary. Celebrate with other hunters when they bag a deer and don’t pass judgment just because their harvest doesn’t fit your definition of a trophy. Check your attitude, show respect and stop trying to act better than someone else. Go encourage others and stay positive. Buck or doe, six point or twelve, the meat all looks the same in the freezer.
When you hop out of your truck this fall and grab your gear, remember where you came from and why you’re there. Reflect on stories and memories from the past. Don’t forget to cherish this special time spent in nature. Savor the thrill of the hunt. I challenge you to live in the present and put down your cell phone. Immerse yourself into the outdoors and watch the woods awaken and come alive around you. Let your senses intensify.
Hunting helps us build a deeper connection and respect for the land and animals, as well as their wellbeing. We need to get back to our roots and involve others in the hunting traditions and values that established this passion in us. Share with others what has kept us coming back year after year. Respect the land, honor the game, be conscious of your actions, never compromise your integrity as a hunter, and make sure you’re ethical in everything you do. You don’t have to have the fanciest equipment. Use what gives you confidence and gets you excited. Go out this season and take a breath of the refreshing fall air, our favorite time of year is finally here. Most importantly, go out and have a good time and give thanks for this extraordinary experience God has given us.