Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Interesting Question...

© 2009 Albert A Rasch

Late last night I was trying to catch up with the many blogs I read. I would like to say that the quality of the bloggers affiliated with Outdoor Bloggers Summit is exceptional! The truth is that the writing steadily improves and quite frankly I think in many cases surpasses that of professionals in the traditional sectors!

My many friends out there, I want you all to know that I do read just about every post that comes out, but I am limited to the number of comments I can type out! So please know that I am there with y'all almost every day even though I may not comment.

I was going through Deer Passion's Blog when I bumped into this:

Julia said...
Sorry to post twice, I just landed on your blog. I'm not a hunter (which you'll know if you read my first comment). But all of the hunters I've met in my life talk about how much they love the wildlife they hunt. And yet I rarely hear about hunters off-season going out just to appreciate wildlife the way many of us non-hunters do. I don't fully understand that. Am I just reading that wrong? I hate to make generalizations. For me, there's nothing more captivating that being out on the trails, seeing the hawks and eagles and deer and the bobcats (they live in my area) -- especially since this time of year there tends to be calm, owing to the fact that is off-season for much game. It's sometimes easier to get close to the animals and be a part of their world in a non-threatening way. I've read posts about guys in utter despair after deer season, planted in the chair watching hunting shows. If you appreciate the outdoors and wildlife as much as I do, you just want to be out there, hunting or not. Or so it would seem.

OK, I understand and appreciate Julia's perspective.

I answered back immediately without giving it much thought; (I'm from the ready, shoot, aim, school of verbal repartee):


First of all, thanks for stopping by our fellow OBS member Deer Passion. We always appreciate new readers and good questions.

Many of us do have off season pursuits, I fish, restore habitat, camp, garden, tend my bees, grow hickories for planting in public places, I try to hog hunt, and pick up trash at the preserves and public spots I frequent. I also teach kids about the outdoors, including fishing, hunting, trapping, bio diversity, perma-culture, ecology, ethics, and morality; not to mention the basics like logic, reading writing, and arithmetic.

You make an interesting comment though about how much you appreciate the outdoors when you are out there. I would suggest that you also try to educate those around you that don't take the time to really see what's out there.

We Sportsmen, like Deer Passion, NorcalCazadora, The Suburban Bushwacker, and all my friends at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit see the outdoors, and all its splendor, everyday. Because we LOOK for it!

As I was writing I thought that Julia really deserved a better, more thought out answer. So I added:

You have motivated me to write a more thorough explanation, Please look for it sometime after 9PM 2/24/09 on my blog The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.

And here I am.

I am firmly of the opinion that outdoorsmen have a greater ability to find the natural beauty they seek where ever they are. Whether it's peregrines in New York City, deer in the suburbs, or squirrels racing along a power line, we tend to see them long before anyone else does.

We also have a vested interest in maintaining the wild spaces around us. We are the ones that that fund the great outdoors for the use of many.


I've been sitting here for over an hour wracking my brain for a better answer than what I wrote yesterday. I wrote the last two thoughts out, but I don't know any better way to explain what I feel and do in the outdoors than to invite Julia to read my archives.

I already listed some of the things I do.

I feel like I have not explained myself thoroughly enough, but I am also feeling that I am trying to justify something.

And you know something, I don't feel that I need to justify anything I do. If it isn't obvious then I don't mind explaining, but this is coming dangerously close to justification.

Maybe some of my friends might lend a hand here.

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan


me said...

Many times I think people who hunt see it as something to DO with all the equipment that IS hunting.

We may forget that in the outdoors, even when we are hunting, we really aren't DOING ANYTHING, sometimes we aren't even really hunting.

Strange that when I find myself out hunting, but not really hunting is when I enjoy the hunt most. And, occasionally I am surprised!

Good question.

me said...

Many times I think people who hunt see it as something to DO with all the equipment that IS hunting.

We may forget that in the outdoors, even when we are hunting, we really aren't DOING ANYTHING, sometimes we aren't even really hunting.

Strange that when I find myself out hunting, but not really hunting is when I enjoy the hunt most. And, occasionally I am surprised!

Good question.

Julia said...

Albert, like you, my husband, son & I not only hunt but also fish, camp, and generally spend time in the outdoors. Where we hunt in the West, there are a lot of ghost towns and old cabins that we also explore and clean up. There's nothing more humbling than exploring in the wilderness and stumbling across a headstone of someone who passed away trying to eke out a living in a treacherous terrain 100 years or so ago. Each Thanksgiving, we go to our favorite hunting spot (not during any hunting season) just to take pictures of the deer and other wildlife. When we are "home", we also garden, compost, keep bees, and chickens in our suburban back yard. We are actively involved in our community and local outdoors associations. Also, like you, I think that so many hunters truly love the outdoors and it is a way of life for us, not something we consciously divide into hunting season/non-hunting season and wilderness/backyard adventures. There may be some hunters who feel differently, but I can assure the other Julia that they are certainly not any of the excellent and amazing people that I hunt with. Thanks for the chance to weigh in, Albert. (A different) Julia

Ben G. said...

We as outdoors men and women sometimes don't even realize the only thing we talk about is the actual hunt, maybe because it is the most exciting part. Being a true hunter/outdoors person we immerse ourselves in the outdoors so much that it just becomes an ordinary part of life. And when has ordinary made a good story.

It's kind of crazy, but I just posted about one of my other favorite pastimes which is walking my dog in the local county park. This is my attempt at making a story out of the ordinary outdoors.

spotted face said...

When you are passionate about something and then lose it, you get depressed. For outdoorspeople it is duck season, deer season, etc. We get very attatched to what these activities mean to us. Then we express our "loss" in a way that is understandable to others. And that usually sounds like depression.
Other folks - it might be the end of the football or basketball season, boating season, whatever. We know there are a ton of other things to do, but they just don't compare sometimes.

Isaac said...

I think there's a difference between passively observing the outdoors and feeling like you are actively participating.

Actively participating is a much more intense experience and one that hunters are limited to for a short period of time during the year. A short, intense experience is much more likely to be talked about than "the every day".

You probably wouldn't rush over to a friends house to tell them about your camping trip over the weekend or walking your dog on the forest trail unless something unusal happened. But during a hunt, regardless of whether you actually bag something, your senses are heighted and that snap of a twig you wouldn't have noticed otherwise becomes much more meaningful. The experience of being in the woods when you have the feeling of really participating in nature is out of the ordinary and something most hunters want to share.

Whereas walking a dog, camping, birdwatching (although as a falconer I get pretty excited about birdwatching...), and other outdoor pursuits just seem 'normal' and I don't need to talk about (or rather don't think anyone wants to hear about...) 'the everyday'.

Hope that made sense...

Deer Passion said...

I also replied to Julia and made mention that most of the die-hard nature lovers and conservationists are, in fact, hunters. For me, hunting starts and ends with appreciation and respect of wildlife and the entire natural world. I hope Julia sticks around so we can show her a different and more accurate world of hunters/hunting.

Pistolmom said...

Check out:

Anonymous said...

I think people who hunt tend to talk about the hunting and fishing because that's the exciting part. They don't talk about the weeks they spend cleaning up their hunting area, or cleaning up the trash near the river where they fish, or the time they spend tending a food plot or grooming trails because that's not as interesting.

Just because someone doesn't choose to discuss something doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting conversation here, Albert! For me, I am a die hard fisherman. I love to fish, talk about fishing, plan fishing trips etc. etc. Fishing is what it is about for me. That does not mean that I don't value other forms of outdoor activity and the beauty it brings to us all in that magic moment of time.

Native said...

For the "Wilderness Deprived" (actual clinical term!)
They will truly never fully understand until they experience the "Hunt" for themselves.

But also, by that very term itself, I mean that hunting can entail a myriad of events and experiences.
We hunt for our lost wallets and keys as well as the best parking space. We hunt for our wayward pets and for the very food we place upon our table.
Whether that food be at the supermarket or out and into the wilderness, we "all" hunt!

For most all of us though the "hunt" really means the complete wilderness experience, from the time that we embark upon that wondrous journey, up and to the moment that we lay our heads upon the pillow and then dream about our next adventure.

It is definitely "not" just about the kill, maybe more-so about the chase!

Good and thought provoking question and answers.

T. Michael Riddle

Anonymous said...

Good points, Albert.

I think our friend, Julia, is laboring under a common misperception. Most hunters are active in the outdoors in many ways, not only hunting, but also in most of the ways many non-hunting outdoorsfolk do... hiking, camping, birding, etc.

We're out there most of the year, but because our passion is hunting, that's what we talk/write about most of the time.

Doug said...

Just like most of the folks who've already commented. Hunting is a year round pursuit to me. In the off season I am tending to my animals, getting gear ready, checking spots, watching game, and planning what will come next.

There are a million ways to occupy my time in the off season - all of which improve the actual hunting season, as well as the rest of the year.


Harris' Hawk Blog

Bio Bo said...

Too many people have the misconception that hunting is all about killing. On the contrary, hunting is all about the total experience. The kill is just the climax of the experience. Everything leading up to that point is a crescendo, everything from that point a decrescendo.
For example, my passion is turkey hunting in the spring. I spend weeks before the season opens scouting the woods on public land to locate as many birds as possible. When the season opens, it usually takes me 2-3 days,sometimes less, sometimes more, to bag my turkey. But if I don't bag a bird and I have encounters, then it's all worth it. If they will talk to me, then I'm happy.
The taking of a bird pales in comparison to the pleasure and satisfaction of everything else that goes into it. It's the icing... but without the cake, it's too sweet.