I wasn’t bred to hunt. I had never wanted to. Never had any reason to go kill. Well, the occasional ant burning with a magnifying glass but nothing in a food category. And there was definitely no real interest in any form of sitting in a deer stand. Waiting for deer to come.
In high school I would make fun of my friend, Jeremy who liked to hunt. I was living in the redneck south, and so, well, we have a lot of rednecks. And he was one of them. He came from a long line of them. Hunting went deep for all of them. It’s tradition in their family to hunt. He hunts on the same land where his family moonshined years ago. He’s a whiskey drinking, boot wearing, skoal in the back pocket, George Strait-kinda guy. And I was not. Never had any intention to be one.
I was a bit more sophisticated. More white collar. I liked golfing. And tennis. A chai latte, with no foam please. Oh, and extra hot too.
Hunting was not in my DNA, and the way I saw it reserved exclusively for the people of the world who had trailers, and who liked to put old cars as yard ornaments in the front lawn. The word buckmaster, makes him drool. I’d be happy with a Bobboli pizza. I dismissed Jeremy, went on to college, got married, moved to Colorado, seemed very fine with how things were turning out, apart from my past, and all that sort of stuff. I didn’t see my need for rednecks, or this hunting thing.
It was a few months back when my friend, PJ, invited me to his house. “I want you to watch a video.” Guys only. Ok. I was not expecting what came next. Or how I would react to it.
The video was “The Truth, Big Bulls 10.”
Sounded either really dirty, or an unknown passage of scripture. I watched as what appeared to be Bubba, and his buddy filming an elk hunt in Colorado. It was homemade, and had all the expectations of some southern drawls that I had known so well. But as I started watching, I kinda got into it. There was a pretty nice herd of elk. Huge antlers. They get that big? “Oh, wow, he’s calling that in?”
The men were in the middle of beautiful land. Nothing around them. But these giant bull elk bugling and calling them. They slowly got closer. I inched into the screen. Waiting. Watching. And wondering what’s next.
Then there was silence. A shot. And then all of a sudden, the men were staring at each other. These big burly men turned to little school girls jumping at each other. They were frantic. Trying to squeeze in places that should not be squeezed together, especially men. And these type of men. It was like… what is going on? Should we turn this off?
They were jumping up, hugging, holding each other. It was weird. Almost freaky. One guy started crying. Telling stories in the camera about the trip, what he was feeling. They moved closer to the bull, and it all began all over again.
I wanted to laugh, and yet I felt like I had just witnessed something deep. And as weird as it sounded—spiritual. I don’t know what it was, but there was something in it. Something I started thinking about.
I wanted to hunt.