As fall rapidly approaches, bowhunters scramble to tune their equipment and fling hundreds of arrows to hone their skills and technique. For with autumn, the archery season comes, along with the excitement that hunting-archers live their lives for.
Fall is the traditional time of harvest. A time when a person enters the forest to stock the family larder for the long winter, which lies just ahead. It is a time when the dedicated bowman watches the green leaves of late summer turn into a cascade of brilliant colors, flutter to the ground and then be given a decent burial by the first snows of winter. For most, it is a time of continuing education as bowhunters match wits with the wily whitetail deer in an attempt to bring the buck of a lifetime to the trophy wall. For others, it is the adventurous pursuit of a variety of big game species that light personal fires and offer a variety of challenges to test the individual’s metal. It is, perhaps, the only time of the year when the outdoors person feels totally and absolutely free.
Hopefully, for each person breathing the fragrant odor of the woods’ annual purge, it is also a time of personal sharing with one another. A time when parents take their children into the woods to savor the wonders that abound during one of Mother Natures most special times. Adults teaching the young ones about the forest and the animals that make their home within its boundaries. Teaching them to appreciate the balance that is found there and to be in awe of the beauty, and sometimes, the brutal harshness of the wild world. Instilling in them a respect for the life that fills the outdoors, while pointing out the necessary role the hunter plays in the management and balance of that life.
Fall is a time when husbands share, with their spouses, the world that they have come to love. A time when a couple spends quite time with one another, away from the busy whirl of life in the civilized world. Enjoying each other’s company in an environment that is as quiet and peaceful as all the earth once was. Sharing the treasures that are held within the confines of the wilderness, while creating personal adventures that enrich the relationship between a man and a woman. Moving closer to oneness as the hunter shares his love of the hunt with his spouse, increasing her understanding of her mate and, perhaps, introducing her to the timeless challenge of the chase. Participating, as a team, in the independent act of providing quality provisions for the family table, from beginning to end, without relying on a super market to fill their needs.
Autumn is a time when Grandparents pass along the family hunting heritage to a grandson or a granddaughter. Teaching the old ways to ensure that they are not lost forever in a world that moves farther away from its rural roots, with each passing decade. It is Grandpa instructing in the identification of the furry and feathered creatures, which the young find so fascinating. Sharing stories of hunts and adventures from the “old days” when the aging hunter was young and learning what he or she so freely shares with his wide-eyed descendants. It is a time of instructing the young outdoors people in the importance of learning; and to enjoy and share what is learned about the delights and the challenges found in the natural world.
The fall is a time when friends share a special camaraderie, which only the atmosphere of the wild can spawn. It is companions embarking on adventures to far away places. Places they have talked and dreamt about, during the years they have hunted together. Uniting in the ancient ritual of working towards the common cause of out smarting and harvesting the wild animals they pursue. Reveling in the warmth of each other’s success when the pursued trophy has been brought to the meat pole. Sharing the hardships that are so often experienced by the outdoorsman as he follows in the steps of his predacious ancestors. Melding the hunting talents of one another, both becoming wiser from the knowledge and experience gathered from the other.
Some may consider hunting to be a solitary sport. One that is meant to be experienced alone in order to realize the full value of what can be had. The concerned and aware outdoorsman feels that hunting is a sport of sharing. One that becomes far more valuable and richer when it is collectively experienced with others. No matter how you view our sport, if you do not share it, it will not grow. If it does not grow, it will wither on the vine and we will all lose something that is precious to our existence. This fall, share your love of the outdoors with someone who will join our hunting family. It is important that each of us realize how important this sharing is to the future of our sport. It is the only way to guarantee the future of hunting.