It's a fact of life: Hunters need some space in the fall hunting season. Don't take it personally.
We've got a message for all the loved ones of hunters out there, so listen up. We mostly get to hunt once a year, and we can't be having people interrupt this process for anything.
It may sound a bit harsh and self-serving, but it's true. For those of us who have been waiting for the last nine months, letting other things take priority, well, now it's our turn.
We've been thinking about archery, rifles, and shotguns, plus deer hunting, big game, and birds since the season closed last year. We've had enough of other people's weddings, bar mitzvahs, baby showers, and birthdays to last a lifetime.
Now we just want to do one thing: hunt. Preferably in the backcountry where there's no one else.
Call it a selfish attitude if you want, but it's a hunter thing that's tough to understand if you're on the outside. And it needs to be respected. It's not so much about a solo hunting trip or hunting alone, but more of a perspective. We've been biding our time and now it's arrived.
Face it, we're going to be anti-social.
It just has to be understood that our brains are locked in to something else right now, and we don't want our friends or loved ones to take it the wrong way. While it may seem to be the arbitrary wanderings of an aimless hunter, those closest to us at this time of the year completely understand when we constantly check our hunting clothes, firearms, backpacks, and even our licenses in an effort to make sure that everything is in place.
And we do it alone.
Why do we get this way? In an effort to prove that we're not all that bad and deserving of some understanding, here's a list.
Don't sweat it though, because we'll be back to normal after the season is over.
We're Getting Our Hearts and Minds Ready
What is one of the things that drives me in this Sport?..........Its following a particular buck for 3 or 4...
For the most part, all of the walks we took into the woods for that early season scouting were done alone. It's not because we didn't want any company, but because it can be distracting. We want to prepare for the sight of another living creature, one that isn't at all interested in our company, but in fact wants to avoid us.
That's far easier by yourself.
We need these walks alone to further our understanding of how our prey reacts to our presence, and to prepare us for the moment of truth.
Sometimes when we socialize in the presence of others who do not partake in the hunt, we find ourselves psychologically alone due to he fact that there are none in the room who share in it.
This is what sets us apart from those who think that food only comes from the grocery store. Really, it's about the time spent in nature, with only your thoughts as company until that big whitetail deer arrives.
That's when the adventure really begins and it's all we can think about.
Everything Reminds Us of the Hunt
Hunting is natural and its benefits can be seen by all.
When we take the kids or the dog outside in the fresh air we feel like we get reacquainted with the sights and sounds of nature, especially in the fall.
When we trim the trees, all we seem to see is a shooting lane and a big buck walking right into it. When we see an empty pond we imagine it filling with mallards from behind the walls of a blind.
What it really comes down to is the fact that we turn into thinkers as the fall arrives. From the depths of those thoughts we seem to be more introverted and less social. It isn't the entire truth, but we recognize how it looks.
We Can't Be There When We Want
This silly, made up video reflects just what we think when we feel that we're getting robbed of a hunt on our own terms. This can happen because of a family function, work responsibilities, or some other prior commitment that takes us away from our primary treestand.
The desire to get out there combined with the inability to do so can make us quite anti-social at this time of the year.
That FOMO, or fear of missing out, will make anyone clam up and ignore friendly interactions.
Because We're Done Debating or Discussing Options
We've been a part of every social media group, online forum, and outdoor TV show. We're done staring at our cell phone and hearing about the stories from others. It's time to make our own.
We don't want to debate the hunting options right now, we just want to go. We've come all the way to this point and another text message about the moon phases isn't going to make any difference.
One of the biggest things that makes us become anti-social is pressure, but not the hunting kind. We hate being pushed to be at a certain place at a definite time. We want to hunt on our own terms and under our own set of rules. What if the turkeys are headed to their roost at the same time as that dinner party begins?
You know what choice we'll make. We're going to be at our hunting spot, not at the buffet table chatting about it.
We Just Want Some Independence
Being a solo hunter gives us control over our own hunt. Many times we agree with our hunting partners and hunting buddies, but sometimes we don't and it makes us want to scream.
The truth is that we're all different and we all have our own methods. Some are bowhunters, others swear by their rifle. We all get the same cursory hunter education, but it's how we evolve that knowledge through experience that makes our style all our own.
And it furthers our desire to be left alone.
It's not so much that we only want to hunt alone, it's just that the thought of having to change what we like to do makes us twitchy. The thought of making adjustments to what's always worked only pushes us to stay out of the conversation altogether. Besides, there's only one name on your hunting license.
The Big Takeaway
Calling it anti-social certainly gives the whole thing a bad taste, but the hunt is more about each person having their unique space to ply the hunt the way they want. As long as they're within regulations and good hunting ethics, they should be left alone. Another hunter telling them why they're wrong, or that they should do it differently, makes it even more frustrating when you can't bring game animals into range.
There is nothing like a solo hunt to make us want to learn our own lessons, for better or worse.
Hunters don't suddenly become rude or nasty in the fall, we just become obsessive. There are only a few things in life that we want to be more successful at than the hunt. Things like our marriages, careers, and parenting roles come to mind.
When it comes to hunting, it has become so ingrained in our being that from the first time out in the woods to the last, we're hoping to find success on our own terms. Friends, family members, and even rivals can provide motivation, but pursuing wild critters alone in the great outdoors is usually what it's all about.
We may obsess over the hunt, yes, but the feelings have been cultivated in us for so long that the thought of giving up scares us. What would be worse than being a little anti-social in the fall? Not having hunting opportunities in the first place.