You Don’t Have to Be a “Die-Hard” to Enjoy Deer Hunting

You Don’t Have to Be a “Die-Hard” to Enjoy Deer Hunting

Some folks enjoy the journey—the small towns that don’t show up on maps and the dives they hold—more than the location they’re headed. Others just want a one-way flight to their destination. They’re more of a product than a process person.

Hunters tend to fall into these categories, too, though exceptions abound. Do the long treks in the dark, uneventful sits, and countless early mornings make it that much sweeter when you kill a buck? Or could you not care less about how you kill a big buck—just as long as you do (legally, of course)? Do you want the satisfaction that comes with setting and accomplishing goals that challenge you mentally and physically? Or are you just looking for a good time outside of your normal work/life routine?

If you’re not sure which box you check, it’s probably a good idea to consider what exactly you want from deer hunting before the season starts. Otherwise, you’ll hunt for all the wrong reasons and resent it.

The Dilemma

One of the cool things about social media is that it presents us with a ton of hunting content right at our fingertips. This is also one of the worst things about social media.

We see highlight reels from everybody and their brother 24/7. Because most hunting celebrities and influencers create content to earn a living, they have to work and think about it constantly. This can make it seem like we, as consumers of this content, should too.

We watch people spend more days than not in the woods, or we see hunters braving new public lands to locate and kill a mature buck and think this is how it should be. But the truth is, it’s just one way of hunting, and it doesn’t apply to everyone’s situation.

You Don’t Have to “Suffer” to Hunt

If you’re a person who enjoys type-2 fun, you probably have zero desire to go on a guided hunt, even if it means you’d kill the biggest buck of your life. Others might see this as well worth the steep price it commands and enjoy every minute of it. Even if you can’t afford such a venture, joining a hunting club with preset stands and blinds overlooking a food plot might sound more appealing to you.

Some people want to work for their hunts. Others want to escape from work. A lot of people don’t care about killing big bucks. Maybe you just want to fill the freezer and enjoy the camaraderie of deer camp. All of these are great reasons to hunt. Yet, hunters have created this misconception that if you’re not suffering, you’re not hunting.

You have to sweat, cover several miles, and bare-knuckle your way to a punched tag. It’s a rite of passage and the only way to earn your hunting stripes. At least, that seems to be the message we’re communicating.

As rough-and-tough this style of hunting seems, we’re quick to spend thousands of dollars on hunting gear to keep comfortable while we’re braving the wild. Camo that basically regulates our body temps, hand warmers, tree saddles that contour just right to our butts, and bows with enough let off to pamper our fragile shoulders when it’s time to kill an animal are just a few examples. When you get down to it, it’s not so different from your neighbor who’s sitting in his shooting house with a magnum rifle. Only he probably still has some room left in his hunting budget.

Mobile or Bust?

The current mobile hunting trend tells you to hike further and climb higher on the deepest piece of public you can find. But that doesn’t mean you have to.

I have plenty of family members and friends who hunt from shooting houses, pre-hung stands, and over bait (where legal). They’ve never saddled up or walked more than a few hundred yards to their setups. They enjoy buddy heaters, throwing their kill in a side-by-side, and shooting houses so swanky they could double as an Airbnb. Not only have they killed plenty of big bucks, they’ve had a blast doing it. For them, there’s no difference between killing a mature buck over a pile of corn and killing one two miles deep in the national forest just as long as they do. In fact, they would probably hate the latter after the drag-out.

If you have a similar sentiment, there’s no reason to put yourself through the wringer just to please an imaginary crowd. It’s one thing if you’ve grown bored with this style of hunting and want a challenge or if you’re struggling to kill the type of deer you want to hunt. But, if you’re happy to keep hunting the same way, by all means, proceed.

Sure, hunting from a tree saddle looks cool and sounds even cooler in theory, but it’s a lot of work (and money). If you dread the thought of hanging and tearing a set every time you go to the woods, debating where to set up, or spending a few extra hours on the walkout, don’t buy into the mobile hunting trend. The fact is, mobile hunting isn’t for everyone. If hunting from ladder stands and box blinds keeps your ticker going, there’s no need to change.

Whether you’re interested in the whole process that leads to a successful hunt or just the end result, both types of hunters would benefit from understanding that not everyone wants, or needs, the same thing from hunting. Figure out which lane you’re in, and run your race.

Feature image via Captured Creative.

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