The Battle Within

When it comes to hunting and everything that goes with it, there are so many variables that factor into any hunt: The layout of the land you are hunting, the weather and wind, the laws and regulations, the moon phases, animal activity including pre-rut or rut, animal population, hunter pressure, predator population, weapons used, your effective and comfortable range, how many tags you have, age and maturity of the animal, species, scent control, appropriate cover or camo patterns and any other man made problems that can be thrown into the mix.
But ALL of those factors, issues, concerns, and changes are irrelevant if you can’t win the battle within. I’m talking about battling yourself; your mind, your body, your spirit, and even your instincts and emotions. There are so many situations and experiences that will come your way during every hunting adventure that will require different responses and reactions and test you physically, mentally, and emotionally; some are exquisite, others heartbreaking, but all worthwhile and perfect. Even before the hunt begins, before the season starts, and before you attempt a shot at any animal the battle begins.
I have recently experienced some frustrations and heartbreaking moments this past month hunting. From sitting for days without seeing a single animal to finding one of the biggest bucks on our property in a horrible life ending situation from a neighbors poor judgement. I battle with myself over these situations, with my emotions, my mind, and my heart. I could easily give up the hunt and be done, but what if. What if that one hunt I don’t sit, something makes an appearance, what if I miss an amazing opportunity to witness an awe-inspiring moment in nature. I can’t live knowing I lost the battle and missed something spectacular.
What if I hadn’t witnessed a tragic end to a beautiful creature; it was truly heartbreaking but I learned so much from it; it was extremely emotional, but I fought the battle with myself to not get angry and overwhelmed; instead I deposited another lesson in my memory bank to ensure I make the most ethical shots. Most importantly I was reminded of what is truly important about hunting to me and why I love this lifestyle. This may be different for everyone but there will be those moments during your battle when you will see them in front of you and they will bring you back to the stripped foundation of why you do what you do.
The battle within continues when faced with any ethical situation, such as taking a mature doe over a beautiful but young buck, or abiding by the laws, moral or written, of your hunting area when nobody is looking. There is a battle to wake up early when you want to sleep in, or to wake up on those cold wintery days and get in the stand, but once you beat that brief moment you are always thankful you did.
There is also a physical battle with yourself while in the stand to sit still, remain quiet, to sometimes stay awake on those long, slow days, to curb any coughing, sneezing (or try your hardest to muffle it) or itches that need to be scratched! People don’t always think about these things being in the stand but they happen and they can ruin a hunt if your not careful. Reaching up to scratch your nose when an animal is behind you or near you can be just enough movement to scare them off. I can’t count how many times I have had to refrain from blinking because I was almost busted because I had a deer looking at me trying to figure out what I was. Having to freeze in whatever position you are in is sometimes a battle against your muscles and patience.
There is always a battle within that you will have to fight. From the emotions of a tragic event in nature to stifling a sneeze in the heat of the moment, but if you can win the small battles you might just be able to win the war and get that prize harvest!

Jan 04, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 2


2 comments on “The Battle Within

  1. Kenny Marsh

    I like how when I hunt all of my senses seem to be heightened. It may be my imagination, but I swear I can hear, see, and “feel” what’s around me so much better. Until deer start smelling like Nutella though, my nose won’t help me though.

    • Candace

      You are right Kenny. I think we can hear, see, feel, and experience everything much better in the outdoors. Without all the distractions you are tuned into nature so much more and you ‘feel’ everything!

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