Author: Emily Courtney
Throughout my early childhood, I remember watching my brother spend months and months in preparation for hunting season. It was basically a year-round thing; once the seasons were over in the spring, he’d start planning habitat improvements and new hunting strategies for the next fall. This kind of dedication was what moved me to want to try hunting again in my early teen years, which resulted in immediate obsession and the passion I still hold as an adult. Once I started taking hunting seriously, my brother let me help with work weekends at hunting camp and any other times he’d go out to check cameras or hang stands. I loved getting to tag along for those kinds of trips. It made me feel important, like I was contributing to the process, and that he valued my company. One of my favorite parts was riding behind him on the four-wheeler. Whenever we hit a straight stretch of road, he’d look back, tell me to hang on, and push that accelerator as far as it would go. It was exhilarating. I should have been terrified, but I had such complete trust in him that I knew he’d never let me get hurt. I was fearless as long as I was with him. Nothing ever seemed like work with him either. We’d spend hours in the Mississippi summer sun, bush hogging, planting food plots, spraying roads, hanging stands, clearing shooting lanes, etc. By the end of the day I’d be soaked with sweat, caked with dirt, covered with mosquito bites and thorn scratches, and completely exhausted. But I loved every minute of it. Then in the fall when the work paid off with a successful hunt, it made the experience that much sweeter.
If you’re a hunter, this probably sounds somewhat familiar. It typically takes a good bit of preparation and planning to achieve much success hunting, and it can add up to seem like a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be a chore. If you don’t already find the work enjoyable, figure out a way to make it fun. Get a friend to help. Take a kid with you; yours or someone else’s. They will almost certainly find the work thrilling, and in a very contagious way. You just might recruit a new hunter while you’re at it. Or it can be a way to just get outside and spend some time alone. Use it as an excuse to buy some new toys (or “equipment” if your spouse asks). There’s a myriad of ways to make it a pleasant experience. If you enjoy it and put your heart into it, the results will reflect that. And who knows, it may just become your new favorite pastime. Besides hunting of course!