It’s the adversity that makes a hunting trip great

The best part of hunting is probably the memories it makes. But great memories don’t come from flawless hunts. You have to have some good old fashioned calamities to make a hunt worth remembering.

Not long ago, I saw a message on one of the hunting blogs I like to read. The writer wanted hunters to send in accounts of disasters they’d had in the field. I bet he got swamped with emails. Every hunter I know has had at least one calamity in the woods. If you hunt, camp, fish, climb or do anything else outdoors, you’ve had at least one disaster. It’s just part of the deal.

I’ve had plenty of calamities myself, and I’ve come away concluding that I’m actually disappointed if I have a trip that goes off without a hitch. I don’t think I’m alone. I think a pretty good percentage of outdoorspeople enjoy those little snags. It’s those conflicts that make the trips memorable.

I don’t mean big, nasty emergency-type bungles. I mean minor disasters. I’m not talking about getting stranded in the Alps and having to eat your companions. Or getting your arm crushed by a boulder and having to whittle it off with your Swiss Army knife.

The enjoyable ones are getting disoriented for several hours and finding yourself still in the woods when you were supposed to be back at work. Or having to sew up your hunting partner’s hand when he cuts himself while he’s cutting the string silencers off his bow. OK, so that last one doesn’t really count as enjoyable.

Think about it, though. What do you remember most about your own outings? Do you remember having plenty of good food, perfect weather and a tent that doesn’t leak? Heck no. You remember running out of the tasty food and having to eat the emergency freeze-dried packets of gunk during a torrential downpour as water drips through a hole in the tent and runs right down the back of your neck.

Here’s to the mishaps. May yours be just big enough to give you good stories, but small enough that you come home intact.  At least with no more than a couple of stitches.

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