Back when I was the outdoors editor at the paper, my job was pretty sweet. I had the freedom to decide what I wanted to write about, then figure out how much time I wanted to put into research. For most stories, that research involved hunting.
I didn’t even have to use vacation time to go hunting. I just scheduled a story about elk hunting, then I headed for the hills. Or I planned a story about hunting antelope with a bow and arrow, and I spent every morning for weeks gathering information first-hand. It was a pretty sweet gig.
But that job didn’t pay enough to feed my family. I had to get a grown-up job, and I can’t go hunting on the clock anymore. Now I actually have to plan for a hunting trip and put in for time off. No more spur-of-the-moment hunts.
And with a family, it’s even harder to find the time to hunt. Any hunter with a family knows getting away was much easier before the spouse and kids came along, but on the other side of that coin, coming back from the hills is easier when you have a better half and a few young critters to come home to.
Even if I didn’t have a family, it’d still be harder to get away than it used to be. It seems as technology intended to make our lives easier evolves, it eats up more and more of our spare time.
I know I’m whining, but I can’t help it. Hunting might not be a part of my current job, but at least now I get paid enough that my family doesn’t have to depend on my ability to bring home game meat to keep our bellies full.
That’s a good thing, because hunting in today’s world isn’t a very economical way to feed a family. If I were to sit down and figure out how much my game meat has cost me over the years, it would be frightening. After counting the cost of fuel, licenses, guns, bows, tents, binoculars, ammo, processing and everything else it takes to go hunting, there isn’t a filet mignon on the planet that would come anywhere near what a backstrap in my freezer is worth. Not even close.
Well, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go now. I have to go fill out a leave slip so I can go hunting in September.