Like most hunters, as far back as I can remember, I have always been passionately involved in “”The Chase.”” From fishing in the gutter at age 6 (my Mom’s proudest moment), to trapping birds in my backyard with bread, box, stick and string. Surprisingly, I was successful a few times, I just never thought ahead far enough to consider “”What am I going to do with the bird once I catch it?”” OK, I am a slow learner.
At age 10, I evolved. My parents bought my first BB Gun for my birthday. I was now a hunter! After passing the mandatory proficiency test in the backyard given by my Dad, it was now “”Game-On.”” Every day after school, I was off to the woods. I couldn’t get home fast enough! Even at the age of 10, I was passionately involved in The Chase. No snake, sparrow or squirrel was safe. I would put the sneak on them.
With a pocket full of BB’s, my Daisy and bicycle, it was off to the woods. My entire childhood was spent in the woods learning about how nature works and interacts. I became part of the circle of life. Predator and prey. Nothing was more rewarding than sitting in the woods, quiet. Watching. Listening. Growing. Things in the woods made sense. It was there I learned the “”spirit”” of the hunt.
After wearing out 2.5 Daisy’s, I was given a 10-pump pellet gun. I quickly learned how to clean squirrels and on more than one occasion, I provided a fine dinner of “”fried squirrel”” for the whole family. Looking back, I don’t recall seeing Mom ever actually eat any of it, but she always cooked ’em up for me and my friends! Thanks, Mom!
Now, as much as ever, the chase is part of my life. I have since graduated from squirrel hunting to deer hunting, but the thrill is just the same. Squirrel, rabbit, deer. It doesn’t matter. It is all about the chase. Getting close. Focus. Take it all in. Become part of the natural circle that man has been part of for thousand’s of years, even since Biblical times. I am proud to be a hunter. It is who I am. I was created this way. I didn’t choose this. My well-fed cat is a hunter, too. It is natural.
The Chase. The mention of it stirs our soul. It reminds us what is important! It is what makes our life exciting and what every one of us wants: a passionate pursuit of something challenging and important. It is as important as water. A college degree. Wealth. Members of the opposite sex. A big fish. The “”spirit”” of the chase is alive and well in all of us.
In every duck blind in south Louisiana, deer stand in Texas or in the mountains of Montana, the thrill is always the same. The undeniable excitement and anticipation of the hunt makes us feel alive and takes us somewhere. Our hearts race, our breathing is heavy, we are “”in the game.”” We are alive! We are in the woods, mountains, marshes and waters, right where we want to be! The circle of life. Nothing can replace that feeling of hearing that twig snap behind you. Or seeing the ducks coming in. Ever hear an elk bugle? The chase is why we hunt. The kill is only the result of everything, including luck, coming together. But it is not the “”kill”” we are after.
Next time you are in the woods and hear that twig snap, take a moment. As your heart races, take it all in. Enjoy that excitement. You know the feeling I am talking about! That, my friends, is why we hunt. The Chase.