At times we get so focused on achieving “the goal” during our hunting pursuits, we forget about the “little things” that help to make the overall experience. I’m talking about the important little elements that perhaps are not vital toward achieving success in the field, but nonetheless are crucial in developing a total satisfaction from the outdoors experience.
A good example for me is coffee. I’m probably not what you would call a big coffee drinker—particularly during the warmer summer months. But when the nights start taking on a chill and the fall draws near…that attitude completely changes. I think it hearkens back to memories when I’ve killed certain animals such as deer, antelope, or even have a game bag heavy with pheasants. Before I field clean the animals I like to sit next to them, admire their beauty, and reflect upon the recent experience all while sipping
a hot cup of coffee poured from my thermos. This practice all happened by accident…but now whenever I take my first sips of coffee it evokes those fond memories of precious time spent outdoors. The same goes when I reach into my backpack to satisfy that mid-morning hunger pang. One of my favorite snacks to pack is a bag with oatmeal raisin cookies. Again, this particular food item takes me back to memories of a particular cold January morning when predator hunting in the snow just prior to a big storm. This list goes on such as bringing chocolate brownies to the duck blind, eating granola bars while grouse or squirrel hunting, or perhaps even eating raisins in the deer stand.
Yet, not all memories are enhanced by food or drink alone. At times it can even be the equipment a person chooses to bring to the field or woods. One tradition I started several years ago was bringing my Dad’s old Winchester Model 97 out into the field with me during the pheasant opener. I lost my father when I was just 10 years old, so we never got to hunt with each other in-person. Yet, for at least that one single day now each year we still hunt together in spirit—and by using his old shotgun as the catalyst to make it happen.
Now, maybe I’m odd in this regard, but I’ve developed a passion for knives. I like my trusty old Buck Folding 110 for deer hunting, my Schrade Old Timer Sharpfinger for skinning furbearers and pair of Fiskars game shears for my upland birds and ducks. At other times the “little things” that make the hunting experience might be nothing other than a special routine or wearing a certain item of hunting clothes. Do you put on fuel at the same gas station or always purchase your hunting license from a particular vendor? I think you get the idea. As a hunter grows older it’s easy to see how tradition plays a big role in the satisfaction associated with the hunting experience. Moreover, as a hunter matures, they begin to discover and better appreciate that sometimes it’s those “little things” that helps to make the hunting experience oh so great. How about you…what are some of the “little things” that help to make your experience hunting so special? Please leave a comment below.