Becoming a hunter changed the way I experience the wilderness.
You see, before I was a hunter I was a backpacker. And before I was a backpacker I was just an outdoorsy kid from the suburbs of Massachusetts. In my youth, the wild served as a backdrop – the set for my latest made-up adventure movie, starring me. The wild was my playground. In those early days, I saw myself as distinctly separate from the rest of the natural world.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers protects wild lands like these for our enjoyment.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers — one of the leading hunting and fishing conservation organizations — just posted a story of Nick’s on their blog. In the story We Could Be Deer Hunters After All, he recounts the final weekend of last year’s season where he and I find a big buck but leave empty-handed. We took away only the lessons we learned from the experience (some of which I detailed in my last post). In his story Nick talks in detail about the mule deer spot and stalk and — due to some adrenaline-addled choices — the harrowing situation in which he found himself. From that day we came away with one of our most important lessons: we could be deer hunters after all.
A number of years ago I made a list titled “Things I am afraid of”. My intention was to do as many things on the list as possible. Solo backpacking was one of them.
But it looks so beautiful and innocent out there…
I had been going on a few backpacking trips a year for a while, so I was fairly comfortable with the basic concept. The thought of going it alone, however—particularly when my female-ness was on my mind—remained a frightening prospect. What if I get kidnapped? What if I get attacked by a bear? What if I get lost? The mind can go in seemingly endless directions with this sort of thing. But at this particular time, my mind was in motivated-fear-conquering mode. So, I made a plan and started preparing. This is the story of what happened, what went wrong (spoiler alert: things went very wrong), and what I learned.