A tin of sardines with saltine crackers on a cold fall afternoon around a warming campfire in the Yukon.
A makeshift coniferous shelter from a cold rain on the banks of a babbling brook in Alaska.
Buddies laughing and swapping stories at the buckpole on a family farm in November.
Dragging a son’s and/or daughter’s first deer out of the woods together.
The unrivaled thrill of hearing the glorious words; “Here he is over here!!”
The delicious, overpowering aroma of thick-cut slab bacon sizzling at 3am on opening morning.
Sitting in a tree during a snowstorm.
The first hunt with dad.
The last hunt with dad.
Planting trees with the grandkids on the family farm.
The bug-eyed laughter of a grandkid as they reel in their first bluegill.
Every sunrise and every sunset.
A squirrel or songbird sharing a limb in our treestand.
The spirit of the woods.
The electricity of predawn on opening day.
Stoking a woodfire after a long, cold, wet morning in the duckblind.
A pup’s first retrieve.
An old dog’s last retrieve.
Fixing a bad law and putting a bureaucrat in his place.
Helping someone get clean and sober.
If the unmatched joy of our hunting lifestyle experiences have taught us anything, it is how very important are the simplest of things that create the most powerful memories in our lifetime.
And let’s face it; could anything be simpler and more fundamental in life than the procuring of food from God’s natural bounty for ourselves and families?
On the surface, I know the hunt in the modern world appears to have changed in many ways and gone far beyond the simple act of just harvesting venison, but all those various, ever fluctuating ingredients of the hunt, both now and then, are what makes it all so endearing and eternally celebrated.
Sure, it is all ultimate fun, always challenging, and every hunt demands a serious degree of hard work and dedication. Just making time in our otherwise increasingly hectic lives is challenging enough.
The constant honing of our proficiency with our bows and guns and the never-ending lessons of predatory skills are some of the most serious endeavors man can undertake. And of course, all that is forever serious fun as well.
Unlike our founding fathers and pioneers of old, if we fail to bag game, we always have a totally stocked grocery store nearby just in case.
For many hunting families across America, mine included, the inescapable instinct to remain connected with the source of our lives and being self-sufficient are at the core of our drive to hunt and survive.
Quite honestly, in these times of runaway corruption and criminal abuse of power by our current so called political leadership, it is most likely at present than at any time in our lifetime that our hunting skills may indeed make the difference in surviving or not.
We still have a few months to go before the fall hunting season erupts in earnest, so now is the perfect time (always is the perfect time!) to share our hunting knowledge and joys with those in our lives we wish to inspire to get back to these simple things.
I am convinced that every human being alive would fall in love with the firearm marksmanship and archery disciplines, and of course the great outdoors escape zone.
With the unprecedented millions of new gun owners and substantial upkick in hunting and fishing license sales in America as a direct result of increasing chaos around the world, this is a sure sign that this simplest of primal survival instinct is alive and well even in the hearts and souls of the totally citified amongst us.
Fan those primal flames by inviting them to take the next exciting step back to their instinctual predatory urges.
You want organic! We got organic!
The Declaration of Independence is not just a uniquely foundational American document, it is also the most basic of human instinct to stand strong on one’s own two feet, to rely on no other man, to be truly independent.
As we painfully witness the increasing weakness and helplessness of so many spoiled, soft, disconnected people, we can provide emotional and spiritual rescue if we just reach out and give them a helping hand.
As great Native American chief once stated; “God has already given you everything you will ever need.”
As hunters, this rugged individual trait we celebrate may very well be the most attractive attribute that so many people seek and need.
Let us put forth that extra effort to recruit as many people in our lives as possible to return to self- sufficiency and to the ultimate healing powers of nature as hands-on participants.
People need the simple things now more than ever.
As the great Fred Bear so often said; “It will cleanse the soul!”
The world could use a huge dose of soul cleansing simplicity right about now, and we who know it and live it hold the answer to all that ails our fellow man.
The simple things remain the most important things. Let us strive to keep it that way. KISS.