December 11, 2012
My general rule is, if I won't eat it I won't shoot it. Of course there are exceptions, so don't be a moron and try to break into my home while I'm there to defend it. I also have no problem using a firearm to put down an animal if needed. I won't like it, but I won't hesitate to do so.
Before this weekend I've gone hunting once since moving away from home.....once. Granted, it was a week-long hunting trip to Alaska, but it was still just a week of hunting in the last 20 years. It kind of sucks when you have to stop doing something you enjoy and then just keep on continuing not to do it because it is your new "normal".
I still have been going shooting off and on over the last two decades and I have a few rifles and pistols. Truth be told I have a fairly decent collection of .22 rifles and pistols. I had to actually stop and mentally count before being able to say that I have seven different .22s. Two are specifically for hunting and the other five were bought for plinking/target shooting. When I was a NCO in the Air Force I liked to take Thursday afternoon off early and take my Airmen shooting. Thursdays were special training days in the Army and they came in 4-5 AM and left early. By afternoon the post would be a ghost town and you really couldn't get any work done that relied on your Army counterparts. Great time to go screw off, but you were still on the clock (so to speak). My supervisor was more than willing to let us go bond as a team down at the range. To keep from going totally broke I bought as many varied .22s as I could. I had a bolt action, a lever action, and a semi-auto.
Anyway, I digress.
A couple weeks ago a friend of mine offered to take me out hunting. Not just yes, but hell yes! It was "just" out for small game, but that is my preferred hunt anyway. We went out for rabbit and quail Sunday morning. The night before I got everything ready and I almost couldn't sleep. It wasn't that I was full of anticipation, but I think I'd gotten too used to staying up late and sleeping in late. getting up at 6 AM was painful.
We spent five hours walking the hills beside the Snake River. It was gorgeous seeing the early morning sun and we had perfect weather. Between the two of us we only saw two rabbits and two quail. My friend got off two shots and bagged one quail. I didn't even get in a single shot, which was fine by me.
Too many people define a good hunt by what they manage to bring home. I think those people are totally missing the point. Two days later I'm still a bit stiff and sore from walking over the uneven terrain, but it is a good kind of sore. The kind of soreness that comes from pushing your muscles a bit farther than usual.
I totally hope to get sore at least one more time before the end of the year.