Posted 11/16/21

OUTDOOR Adventures It is in our DNA Why would you wake up before the crack of dawn, dress in layers of blaze orange clothing, venture into the woods by the light of the moon and a flashlight, only to …

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OUTDOOR Adventures

It is in our DNA

Why would you wake up before the crack of dawn, dress in layers of blaze orange clothing, venture into the woods by the light of the moon and a flashlight, only to climb 20 feet into a tree just to sit and wait for a deer to maybe come your way? Fair question. The hunting instinct is in all of us and the proof can be found by looking at a few childhood games.

Did you play Hide-and-Go-Seek, Kick the Can or Capture the Flag? I officially qualify for my AARP card in January as the big “55” is nearing at a rapid pace and growing up on the East side of Hastings, these games were regular “outdoor adventures” for the neighborhood kids. Each game includes various elements of hunting. Whether you were the hunter or hunted, you had to devise a strategy that ensured that at the end of the game, you would reign victorious. Am I making a stretch here by saying we are all hunters? Like so many things in life, I guess that is up to your perception of the word hunting.

Perception is defined as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses: “the normal limits to human perception.” The object of the games is to avoid being caught by the opponents while trying to catch them. If all the senses are not on-point in the deer stand, the hunter usually loses. Due to the lack of necessity in modern society, the hunting instinct in all of us is certainly less common than in the past. To hunt or not, for many, has a lot to do with weather. I remember playing in some nasty weather conditions when other friends “wussed out” because it was too cold. While the innate desire to hunt may not be as strong today, it will never completely dissolve. How do I know this?

Back to perception. As products of our environment, the hunter realizes the benefits of hunting goes beyond “meat in the freezer.” The experiences during “the hunt” brings us closer to our family and friends. None of us will be here forever and these experiences will become stories and memories. In some cases, these stories become more myth and legend, but that is for another column. Here is a broader perspective of hunting” that I want to offer up. What you choose to hunt, be it wild game or stronger human relationships takes strategy and of course, other people to end in a successful hunt.

If you are married or in a relationship, think about the initial process in getting to the point you are now. One, the other or both were “on the hunt” in most cases. For a few of you, the act of avoiding other people and not “getting caught” was a high priority. We all have that friend who shouted from the mountain tops, “I am NEVER getting married” who will soon be celebrating their wedding anniversary. How many of you were “set-up” by someone in your circle of friends? Some of you were the hunters while others were the hunted. Mary and I celebrated the 27th anniversary of our first date this week. Ironically, the day we met started with me out deer hunting. I am not sure who was the hunted or the hunter in our case, but I am grateful that it turned out the way it did.

Still not convinced you are a hunter. Have you ever been in the situation where you were without work and needed to find a job to support yourself and your family? For those who feel that hunting is not a human instinct, how did that job “hunt” go? Have you ever found yourself “hunting” for the perfect Christmas or Birthday present? As you get closer to that AARP card, do you find yourself often “hunting” for your glasses, car keys or any number of other objects you seem to have misplaced? Some love “Black Friday” shopping while others avoid it due to the climate, and I am not talking about the weather. The instinct is in all of us, and it is important that we don’t lose it (or you may need to get spare keys made). Less of us will be “Getting Out to Enjoy the Great Outdoors” during the next few months and that is okay. You can live it vicariously through “Outdoor Adventures.” Stay warm dear “freeze baby” friends and happy hunting.