The Beginning of a Passion

 J.C. Smoak

 J.C. Smoak

  Why does a hunter do what he does? For the average guy there is no free gear, television show, or corporate sponsor. The everyday guy wakes up, punches a time clock, and squeezes in what hunting he can. That being said, last year 38.8 million Americans said they were involved in the sport. Why do they do it?

 I would venture to say that a large majority of those people hunt for the same reason I do; because it’s a part of who we are.

   Almost 20 years ago, my dad handed me my first hunting rifle. It was a bolt-action Remington 7mm-08 youth model, and it scared me to death (I was six…cut me a break). In fact, it made me so nervous that I refused to practice with it the whole day before our hunt. That evening while sitting in the tree stand, I was like a hawk watching a fresh cut grain field. I watched as grey squirrels and cardinals robbed our corn pile, contemplating how I’d make my move if they were deer. As time went on I did what any self-respecting six year old would do, I took a nap. It was a great nap, but it didn’t last long. I felt my dad nudge my side, telling me to wake up. As I slowly lifted my head, my eyes met with a nervous doe that was only 50 yards out. My heart began to pound, and time seemed to stand still. That, ladies and gentleman, was when I knew I was hooked.

   For the record I killed that deer, and I promise to finish the story at another time. The main point that I am trying to get at here, is what I felt when I first spotted that doe. That evening a fire sparked in a six year old boy, and it still remains with me today. It is as much a part of me as the blood that runs through my veins, and undoubtedly changed my life forever. This my friends, is why 38.8 million men and women do what they do. It’s more than just another story; it’s part of who we are.