What does it mean to suffer some while we're outdoors? Would a little outdoor hardship do us good?
So, what do we mean when we say "outdoor hardship?" Is it a reference to the difficulty in taming the great outdoors? Getting a blister while hiking? Perhaps it is simply how hard we work to score a big whitetail buck?
Honestly, it could be all of the above and more.
There's an old saying that "if it was easy, then everyone would do it," but when it comes to our beloved outdoor activities, we prefer to think that success only comes through trial and error and some hardship along the way. This doesn't mean that we actually have to suffer, just that the preparation, the hunt, and the harvest are much sweeter when we've realized what it was that we had to go through to get it done.
As outdoorsmen and women, we love to know that we've worked hard to attain the success that we all desire and that it didn't just come by dumb luck. Sure, we all have easy scores sometimes, but it is the spice of life that the best and most memorable ones are the hunts and fishing trips that took some sort of toll on us. Let us explain a little more what we mean by that.
As hikers, campers, and especially fishermen who love a good shore lunch, we've all found out at one time or another that it doesn't come without some difficulty. Whether it is in making the fire or simply trying to survive the mosquitoes and black flies. A meal made and served outdoors is one that tastes especially good despite the issues involved.
Cold as a Thing of the Past
What issue has been more of factor in our outdoor lives than trying to stay warm in the fall and winter? Our extremities are the first to cool off and get cold in the lower temperatures, so how is that a good thing?
It was our forefathers of the hunt and of the cold weather fishing trip that learned to find and gather the items that would change all that. Between the hunters that shot geese with their incredible down, and trappers that gathered beaver pelts, we garnered our first taste of lasting warmth while outdoors.
Now we have rechargeable hand warmers, thin, lightweight layers of stunningly warm clothes, and footwear so warm, they can make your feet sweat.
Safety in the Trees
Between portable treestands, climbing treestands, and safety harnesses, we've come to realize that we could hunt from the treetops without the fear of falling. Sure, there is the unfortunate truth that some of our predecessors had to find out the hard way that simple nails and construction lumber wouldn't last. However, the number of hunting accidents has decreased exponentially since the onset of these hunting safety devices and materials.
Furthering Our Outdoor Education
With the onset of our desire to get outdoors came the inimitable longing to take care of our world. With this comes a conservationist attitude. Hunters, fishermen, and other like-minded outdoor enthusiasts were among the first to observe issues such as water pollution and the onset of animal disease.
Outdoorsmen and women are among the spearhead of folks who will (yes, grudgingly at times) give up their time and space to organize clean ups, fill out wildlife surveys, and maybe the most difficult thing, change their outdoor behavior such as dealing with shortened seasons and smaller bag limits to give wildlife a chance to recover. Because we've seen the negative effects these problems have on wildlife and the outdoor spaces we know and love when we don't step in to help.
Getting Kids Involved
When they see us go outside in the cold to take care of things or go hunting and fishing, all while understanding that it is safe and fun they just want to take part. They've begun to understand that it takes time and study to pass the hunter safety course or a safe boating class, but they are all in to do it.
This may not seem like some kind of hardship in the outdoors, but a simple reminder that they can't go camping without learning to pitch the tent, hunting or fishing without a properly earned license, or become a boat owner without the responsibility that comes with it.
Hardship as an Attitude
Many of us as hunters and fishermen have long since had some kind of success that seemed to come easily, and that's a good thing. It is usually due to diligence, hard work, and a never-give-up outlook that we come to learn best in the outdoor world.
If you're like me, it never quite tastes as good as it does when the shot wasn't an easy one but you made it. The most satisfying casts are ones made under the trees and you had to untangle your lue from the branches a few times. And nothing feels quite as satisfying as missing a deer, only to harvest a nicer one later. It just makes those fresh venison meals even tastier than usual.
We'll take a little bit of hardship in the outdoors every once in a while. Because then the successes remind us of why we love it so much in the first place.
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