Satisfaction is a difficult thing to define when applied to certain activities. Hunting is definitely one of them. Whether you look for it in the pursuit of an animal or in the animal itself, your parameters will almost always be different than someone else’s. As an experience-seeking outdoorsmen, I get my satisfaction from the journey rather than the destination. It took several years of tag soup to arrive at this realization and I am aware others do not share the same palette.
“What about rifle season?” They bark. “Don’t you at least shoot one for the freezer during rifle season?”
No. I’m sure hunting with a rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader is fine but I prefer to share the woods with other archers. I’ve been on the two-year (sometimes three-year) plan, as a result, but remained content with the way I do things for the most part. Hunting public land, on the ground, with traditional equipment has made every season exciting and every kill memorable. I’m getting what I need to out of hunting.
My podcast partner, on the other hand, has been at it longer and sets a higher bar. Steve has worked hard year-after-year to hone his skills and capitalize on his time afield. I’ve never known him to settle and can imagine how cantankerous and insufferable he would be after a year of being skunked. We’ve been a good pair for that reason. He’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me a better hunter. I’ve reminded him to stop and appreciate the little things.
Speaking of “little things”, let’s circle back to our satisfaction conversation to wrap this post up. I’ve shot several deer some would consider too small or too young during my bowhunting tenure. I was satisfied with all of these deer but admit I was insecure sharing my experiences out of fear of what others might say behind the safety of their keyboards. This happened more often early on but I still relapse from time-to-time. In fact, I recently shot a small, but great-eating doe in November (you can hear all about that here) and had to remind myself not to fall into the “well it’s not the biggest deer” trap while sharing the experience with others.
We call this social development “bucksplaining” and we talk about it and its cohort “buckshaming” in episode 21 of the Traditional Outdoors podcast. Give it a listen and tell us what you think!