Hunting Ruined My Life

We’d like to thank one of our regular contributors Ryan Hughes for another great article. He has a fantastic blog also and we encourage you to go over and check it out! https://thriveoutdoors.squarespace.com/blog/ You can find a link to his blog on our links page.

Enjoy!

This article was inspired by my mother. Many of you may be questioning the title; in essence, I am coming to terms with the fact that hunting has and will continue to ruin my life in many ways til the day I die. I’ve spent thousands of my own (and my parent’s) money on hunting: gear, gasoline, hotels, guns, bows, dogs, a mountain bike, tags of course, and just about everything in between that might contribute to the possibility of killing an animal. Ever since day one I have been hooked on this sport and lifestyle, and you can bet that about half the money I’ve ever had has gone into it. The way I look at it, now is the time to do it; I’m nineteen, I live at home with my parents, I’ve got a good paying job, I’ve got plenty of time between work and school at my junior college, and finally I am going to be going to finish my final two years of college at a mid western big game hot spot (don’t tell my mom, her catch phrase is “I am not sending you to college to hunt!”). The previous arguments probably sound like a recipe for disaster to many (including Mrs. Hughes along with my future wife) but to a guy like me, they give me goosebumps. I keep telling myself that I am gonna save this next paycheck, but every time I see a good deal online, or I realize that I have to put in for tags, or even buy a six hundred dollar out of state tag. Oh and by the way, I am no where near being some big shot famous sponsored hunter guy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t rock the same duds as Steven Rinella and wear that Wilderness Athlete ballcap and FirstLite shirt around like I am the real McCoy himself! So mind your own business! Haha.

A hunter's office.
A hunter’s office.

I probably would have had a 4.0 GPA in high school had it not been for hunting; for the record I had a 3.5 cumulative so I did pretty well in catching up. I missed more school days from hunting than I ever did from being sick. Is it bad that I am proud of that? I would miss about a week every other year from out of state hunting, and every year its getting worse. As a matter of fact, my senior trip was a Wyoming big game safari with my dad, as opposed to going on a big trip with my friends; but hey, how many other kids could say they killed an antelope and a monster mule deer on their senior trip? I bet you didn’t. Once again, the guy I can thank for that is dad; Mom wasn’t too happy, but then again she’s never too thrilled about our constant hunting trips. I know for a fact that she will not be happy about our plan for next year. It may or may not entail two consecutive trips to Montana, but look on the bright side, Mom, if I kill a buck on my first trip during archery season then I won’t even go on the second trip…but your husband still will.

Now if you’re one of those guys who preaches about how money doesn’t make a hunter a necessarily good hunter, well you’re absolutely right. No one needs all that expensive gear to successfully kill an animal; in many cases all a hunter really needs is skill, experience, practice, and a little bit of luck of course. Although all of that is true, I will be the one to tell you that all that gear sure as hell could make that hunt a lot more comfortable. The fancy camouflage patterns are one thing, but if that gear is going to keep you warm and dry, then that will be worth it in most cases. Certain experiences in the field can easily prompt you to buy gear that you never thought you would have needed. I remember back in November of 2013, me and my dad were in Arizona on an archery elk hunt. The second morning was the coldest one for us, we were cooped up in a makeshift blind above a small pond. One second it was snowing, and the next it would be raining; us California boys aren’t exactly used to this but we sure as hell had the gear suited for it. One thing my dad did that changed my entire hunt experience was he pulled a small propane camp stove out of his pack. We made ourselves a few cups of hot coffee with this pocket sized stove and it did something that my father referred to as “Brought us back”. After this trip I went out and spent the best thirty dollars I’ve ever spent, on a similar setup from Big Five. Hunting in a familiar setting can be so repetitive that a hunter can pack one bag for the entire season. The hunter can compile a packing list that will make due for the entire season based on what previous seasons and weather conditions have been like. When a hunter frequently adventures into unknown territory, there is a need to let hunting ruin your life and drop hundreds of dollars on gear to make your hunt the best experience possible. Although the “suck” factor of a hunt has the ability to draw many people in, there’s a line you gotta draw if you are going to be hunting the back country, or a place that is foreign to you, multiple times throughout the year. Besides, who doesn’t love the feeling of opening a box of brand new gear.

I hunt in a huge variety of places, from our deer club close to home all the way to Wyoming and everything in between. I know how it is to beat the brush in jeans and a long sleeve work shirt in ninety degree weather. I don’t care for it much, but that’s one way of hunting. I also know what it is like to not have the right gear and end up having to spend a whole weekend without a single pair of dry socks. Lastly, I know what it is like to have the right gear. In past experiences, the state of mind from having the right gear on hunts has given me a ton of relief and saved me a lot of agony. I have been a victim of hunting. I have spent money, missed important events, and lost girlfriends because of hunting. It has been ruining my life since day one. Hunting is not going to stop ruining my life anytime soon so I would like to tell everyone around me to be prepared for major disappointments from me, amazement from me, and I may be asking a few of you for some money to borrow.

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