As a hunter, more specifically a northern bowhunter, we go through a lot. Between early mornings, some late nights, the stress of decisions and hard work, and the toll that harsh weather can have on our bodies. The amount of pressure that we put our bodies through from the months of September to January is immense if you really think about everything that we put them through. Every time that we see a non-hunter, it’s almost a guarantee that we get the question of, “Why do you do that to yourself.” Obviously they’ve never had the feeling of seeing an Easton FMJ sail through the vitals of a whitetail.
Tyler and I both stay busy during the seasons. We both play collegiate sports, juggle our classwork, and still try to have a social life, but being in a stand always becomes a priority come fall. There are some days that we wake up at 4:30 a.m. and end up having to go to class with our facepaint on. Then it’s practice, workout, maybe eat somewhere in between, then climb up 20 feet again; repeat. I specifically remember one weekend last season where Tyler had practice Thursday night, then drove two hours home through torrential rain to hunt with me that weekend. Every day was a grind; a push to get into the next sit where we could possibly be met with success, yet it didn’t happen. At the end of the Monday evening hunt, Ty drove back to school empty-handed. It was exhausting to say the least, and sometimes it even made us question ourselves and our sanity, but one thing kept coming back to us: that moment that seems to move in slow-motion, when you take that last breath before squeezing your release off. That incredible feeling of calling your hunting buddy, dad, or best friend after you center-punch a whitetail. We all know the feeling. That’s why we do it.
Some may call us crazy, some might say it’s not worth it, but like I said earlier, those are the same people who haven’t had the privilege to experience that thrill, and that incredible moment of pride and respect. Like all, our mother’s just want us to stay healthy and happy. Ty and I both hear, “You need to get more sleep, you’ve been putting too much stress on your body lately.” all the time. It almost seems like a broken record anymore. But we both smile and look at each other, because we both know why we do it, “Sorry mom, not today.” It’s the happiness and the joy that it brings us, the adrenaline and anticipation of what any sit could bring. It’s that moment that we fist bump walking into our stands and say, “Shoot straight.” before splitting our separate ways for the evening sit. That’s our why, and when we lose it, it’ll be time to hang it up. Until that day, which I pray never comes, I’ll be waiting for that 4:30 a.m. alarm to start going off again.
1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” Notice the verse says continually. Our walk after the Lord shouldn’t be when we feel like it, and maybe take some days off when things aren’t going right. Just like in our pursuit of a giant whitetail, every single day brings a new opportunity to seek Him. Regardless of how hard, or how grueling it can be, we are commanded to seek Him day-in and day-out during our Christian lives, so let’s do it with all of our hearts. Let’s set our alarm every day, and wake up looking forward to what lies ahead, because you just never know what God has in store for you that day.