“What’s your why”? You hear it everywhere these days. It’s a simple effort to make your brain focus on why in the world you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s also a goal setting and achievement mechanism.
During the 2017 rifle season in Missouri, which I love by the way, I really struggled with why I just wasn’t feeling enthusiastic about rifle hunting. It didn’t have anything to do with the challenge comparison between archery and shooting a gun. Both have their respective challenges. It wasn’t about the trendiness of archery right now. My harvest standards didn’t have anything to do with bragging about the way I filled my tag.
So rather than ask myself a question and leave it unanswered, I finally had to establish my “why” for bowhunting.
From an outsider perspective, bowhunting doesn’t really make sense. With the technology that is available to almost any hunter, why would I choose a device that seems so much more inefficient than a firearm, or even a crossbow to pursue game? Why would I take so much more time to scout and strategize just to get within 50 yards of an animal when I could pick a general area with high visibility and wait for that animal to step out on their own terms at an unnoticed distance? Why would I spend all summer and throughout the season practicing my shooting, tuning and retuning my bow, and researching and adjusting my set up according to the season’s demands, when I could go to the range two or three times throughout the year and be perfectly ready when opening morning comes? When you compare apples to oranges, it really doesn’t seem reasonable.
My “why” for leaning toward bowhunting is focused entirely on being in the moment. Some find that same feeling in golf, or even shooting a rifle. For me, its in drawing a string and letting an arrow fly. I’ll confess, it’s a definite weakness in my life, as my wife can attest. I struggle tremendously with being present in any moment. At work, my attention is being drawn in more than one direction every moment I’m there. At home, with two young children, sometimes I wish I had a clone. When it comes to bowhunting, whether you’re setting a stand or shooting an animal, your mind has to be focused on one point, one goal. It’s therapeutic.
I am a bowhunter, and I want to continue improving as a bowhunter, because every time I squeeze the trigger on my release, what comes from the bow is more than an arrow. That arrow carries with it so many of the worries and concerns, the cloudiness and confusion that my mind and body try to stuff away.
I believe God has placed bowhunting in my life because he knows I’m weak in this way. He knows that by the end of a day, my mind is tired, and I actually long to be able to be in the moment with my family and friends. He also knows that in order for that to happen, there has to be a place in my life where solitude coupled with deep focus exists.
This of course doesn’t replace my time in God’s word or in prayer. If it’s anything, it’s a supplement to my weakness in being able to focus on what is before me. Why am I a bowhunter? I’m human. I have a flesh that wants to cower in sinful weakness. I’m a bowhunter because I need time to unravel and dismiss my distractions. I need to be able to identify those deformities every time I make a poor shot. I need to be able to loose the string again and see a nock explode from my previous shot because what worried me before just vanished.
Why are you a hunter? Bow, Gun, it doesn’t matter. Comment below!