Bowhunting for Adventure

Posted on August 29, 2011

by Joe Bell

Our sport offers many great attractions. There’s the shooting aspect, the camaraderie, the challenge of getting close to game, and the act of experiencing the “hunt.” I’d have to say, at this point in my life, that’s the part I savor the most. Where will my next adventure take me?

However, the adventure aspect of many hunts is often dismantled by our expectations. Time, money, possibly the interference of “guided expertise,” and what we want to achieve in terms of success and/or a certain size trophy can often minimize our journey for adventure.

Don’t fall into this trap. Enjoy the hunt like it was meant to be, and free yourself from all those hopes and wants.

For example, last season, I drew a quality mule deer tag for a region in Arizona legendary for its monster-buck status. The area was remote and spectacular and offered supreme adventure for anyone ready for it.

But, for some reason, my focus wasn’t on the “hunt” this time; rather, it was on affixing my tag to a huge rack.

During the hunt, I stalked many bucks and had some great close-range opportunities on lesser-sized animals, but I passed. I was trophy-hunting and had a goal in mind: a 170-plus buck or better.

The problem was, I didn’t have a lot of time to hunt. Day after day, I hurriedly searched for that prized animal like a hot-ticket item on Black Friday. My mind was far from being at ease and content and living out the adventure.

When it was all said and done, two four-day hunting trips left me completely strung out—and that coveted tag was still in my pocket. What a mistake I had made! In the end, I knew I had ruined the hunt. My outlook, my priorities, were completely flawed.

I guess you can only learn from your experiences. I know that next time, coveted tag or not, the adventure aspect of my hunts will never take a backseat again. After all, that’s the part that makes bowhunting so special and rewarding for me … to just hunt, and let the journey come to full life.

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