When we step into the outdoors, we have the privilege of standing in the presence of God as first-hand witnesses of His creation. That makes hunting something more than a sport or a hobby. It’s a calling to something greater. It’s an experience that transforms the places that we stand into something more than just a crop field or a mountain. It makes that place Hallowed Ground.
Why is it that we as hunters are drawn to idea and practice of filling our walls with head mounts, antlers and other works of taxidermy? It’s reasonable to assume that there may be some source of pride in taking an animal that we consider to be a trophy that leads us to dig into our wallets and take that trip to the taxidermist. Or it could be to commemorate the culmination of years of hard work and determination. But perhaps there’s a deeper reason. Perhaps it’s because that animal and that mount represents the experience.
When you go into someone’s home or office and see a whitetail or elk hanging on the wall, what is it that we do? We comment on the size of the animal or the work of the taxidermist and then we proceed to start exploring the story behind the animal. Where was it killed? Was it taken with a gun or a bow? Public land or private? What time of year? You see, ultimately, it’s the experience that holds the greatest value to us.
This past season, a few of the guys on our team traveled to South Dakota for a spot and stalk mule deer hunt with a bow on public land. It was a completely new area for everyone that went and for all but one, it was their first time to mule deer hunt. The hunt was a tough one. Not only did they have to go through the effort to find the deer on ground that they’d never stepped foot on before, but they also had an early snow storm to contend with. Throughout the course of the hunt, they did have a few encounters with some quality mature bucks. They even had a few misses. And although the end result was a return home with a pocket full of unfilled tags, they returned with something else: a set of memories that will last a lifetime.
I know that one of my most memorable trips was on an elk hunt in Colorado with the guys from Quality Archery Designs. During the week that we were there, we saw a handful of elk and only heard one bugle, but I’ll always value that experience. We ate good food, covered miles of new territory, and enjoyed the time with friends.
It’s always great to come home with a trophy in the form of antlers, but sometimes, the greater trophy is in the lessons and memories that are made.
Hallowed Ground airs Wednesday 730AM ET, Friday 6PM ET, and Saturday 6PM ET