What Are You Hunting for?


Hunter’s and many non-hunters alike seem to know when opening day of firearms deer season is here in western New York. Heading out in the predawn darkness for a deer stand is like going to bed on Christmas Eve for a child, both filled with anticipation of excitement soon to follow. Ask nearly any hunter and they will tell you that there is just something about opening day, almost like a holiday in the eyes of some. Seeing how most of the total deer taken throughout the season are tagged on the first weekend, statistics clearly show that it is certainly a good time to be in the woods.

However, just because we classify the men, women, and youth dressed in blaze orange as deer hunters doesn’t exactly mean that they are out searching after the same trophy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that if one of the biggest bucks in the county walks past, just about everyone is going to try to take a shot. Nevertheless, for some, a deer of that caliber is all they are after. “Trophy hunters” might not even care for the meat, which is hopefully given away or donated. Huge antlers seem to be all the rage nowadays in the hunting world, and not that I’m really against trying to shoot only deer with big racks, but I’ve realized that shooting, let alone seeing one of these animals might take years, depending on the area you hunt. Personally, I like pulling the trigger and the taste of venison too much to hold out for a deer I might never see. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not going to just go out and start shooting at the first deer I see, necessarily.

If I’m going to try to fill a tag, I’m going to try and do so with a good sized deer, one that I feel is a trophy to me, certainly not just a huge buck. There are, however, those who follow the saying, “if it’s brown, it’s down.” Once again, not that I entirely disagree with this mentality, because shooting is a great way to control the ever-growing deer population, but I feel as though I would rather know exactly what I’m shooting at before pulling the trigger, simply because last time I checked, it’s pretty difficult to bring back a bullet after it’s fired.

Everyone has their own trophy. Going after whatever that trophy is to you is what I hope to encourage everyone to do. What you shoot, or don’t shoot, should leave you feeling content afterward, not ashamed.

Sure, big antlers, lean protein, and less crop and property damage are definitely all tangible reasons for many to hunt deer, but intangible reasons exist equally, if not more so. Any city slicker who has not been able to see and hear the woods “wake up” is certainly missing out. Just the silence and the solitude of being in a deer stand are sought out by many who are wound up in the busyness of society. On the complete other side of the spectrum, but still equally able to help people forget about work and a “to do” list, is the camaraderie of friends and family at deer camp or on a deer drive. Unlike tags filled or size of antlers, these types of things can’t be measured, but ask any hunter and they will likely tell you they are just as important. I honestly don’t even think some people care if they get a deer, simply getting away from their normal life, and possibly spouse, is enough. Then again I don’t know if they will admit to that last part. Right now the woods are filling up with many sporting blaze orange and probably all are deer hunters, but probably not all are hunting for the same thing.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty out there hunting for something even more than deer and good times afield. Actually, I’m sure this group includes just about everyone, even the “anti-hunters” and “anti-gun” community!

Peace, hope, and truth are all things that I know everyone in society is searching for. Just like in deer hunting, a deer cannot be everywhere and you need to know the right place to look. Society tells us where to look for these qualities, but all too often it seems we are still left empty and searching. Deer hunting is certainly a place to find some temporary peace, and possible hope for another hunt, but honestly this doesn’t last forever. Your hunting season is only so long, and eventually you have to go back to work or school. Fortunately there is a true source of peace and hope that last longer than deer season. No, not rabbit and duck season, but rather something everlasting. I can tell you about where I find peace in a world full of chaos and instability, hope for the future in a distressed world, and truth amidst all of the lies and deceit thrown from all directions. I can also tell you it’s cheaper than a hunting license. The answer is simple, and ironically finding more stability involves giving up the control that we try to take of our lives to someone even greater.

Regardless of whether or not you’ll be out chasing deer, I’m sure you are in the same situation as everyone else; looking for something more in life and no matter what you’re hunting for, getting outdoors and taking a walk in creation around us is always a good start in the search.