Archery and Real Hunting Are Different Things

When I first started training for moose hunting, I thought that my biggest obstacle would be lack of upper body strength, my tendency to inconsistent exercise, or my inability to shoot an arrow accurately and accurately. But it turns out that, as in any other sport, training and “working in the field” are two different things.

In terms of fitness, I achieved all of my training goals and then some . I got a pulling force of up to 45 pounds, which is five pounds more than the required 40 pounds. I increased the distance to 25 yards, which meant that I was confident that I could shoot and not miss at that distance, and I would not try to shoot further. I even set and completed some other minor fitness goals (my butt got bigger).

None of this turned into moose shooting.

Shooting at a stationary target and shooting at a moving animal are different activities. Aiming deadly weapons at an inanimate object does not give you an adrenaline rush. You don’t have to worry about missing out on a very rare opportunity, and you don’t have to fight to end your life or worse, harm the animal, only to have it run away and spend a few hours (or days) in pain and scared.

Bow hunting is damn hard both physically and mentally. According to my buddy Kurt, these are “hours of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror” and the best you can hope for. From a physical point of view, I was quite uncomfortable all the time, which I, as a person who works from home in pajamas most of the time, was not used to.

The area we hunted in Eastern Oregon was about a mile high and very arid, with a mixture of hills, valleys, meadows and ravines. I saw a total of four moose, three of which were cows, and one prickly (that is, it was only about a year old and its horns had not yet branched out). No one had cow tokens this year, and the peg was not only too far away for me to shoot, but on a steep hill hidden behind trees. (Plus, my buddy Kurt saw him before me, so he fired first.)

We saw the thorn on the very first day, when we were returning from the blockage to the car. (We also saw a herd of Angus cows sitting in felts, which was a little startling, but quite adorable.) Kurt chased him for a while, but it got scared and ran away. Later at camp, I asked my new buddy Roy, my buddy Kurt’s friend, how long he had been hunting. “Thirty-five years,” he said. “How many moose have you killed?” “eleven.”

Ouch.

Up to this point, I “knew” that hunting moose would be difficult, but I was so focused on its fitness aspect that I didn’t really think about the likelihood of meeting the moose and everyone else. things that went along with it.

It was, for example, much colder than I thought. It was cold almost every night when we went to bed, and every morning when we set out before sunrise. Frost was forming on my bow, and I pouted and swore that I wasn’t going to do it again next year. But then the sun came out and I kept warm and cool until bald hornets and yellow jackets began buzzing around my head. (I avoided bites until the last day, when my right ear was swollen to twice its original size.)

I also left out the height. I did not get sick and did not feel particularly tired, but during the whole trip I had almost no appetite, which was a new sensation for me. I also didn’t feel like drinking or taking any funny substances. All I wanted to do was wrap myself in several layers of clothing, dive deep into two sleeping bags, and hopefully fall asleep before my body realizes how cold it is.

From the second to the last day, a herd of moose crossed the field about 25 yards from our blind man. My father and I prepared our arrows and waited, hoping for a thorn or a bull to follow, but this did not happen. But one look at the cows – incredible in size and height – was enough for me to “understand” this.

Hunting is boring, peaceful, exhausting, physically exhausting and at the same time sedentary, and for some reason I want to do it again next year. Despite the fact that I did not kill anything, I learned that I was much stronger than I thought, both mentally and physically, and found that I could sit quietly, without looking at the phone, for several hours, which, to be honest seemed impossible prior to this trip. I don’t know if this could be called “fun,” but I know that my father and I have already planned to go again next year. (We also plan to rent a van or trailer. It was too cold in the tent.)

Besides a new hobby that I can share with my dad, moose hunting gives me a reason to keep going to the gym. I know that “being hotter” or “feeling good” doesn’t motivate me that much, but – for some reason – hunting motivates. In fact, with the Big Journey no longer looming, my gym attendance is not the same as it was a few months ago. I only traveled twice in the two weeks immediately after the trip, but gradually increased the number to three times a week. (The reason for the increase? I went to shoot targets in the field behind my father’s house and found that my archery skills had deteriorated.)

It’s a little weird and a little unsettling that what motivates me to work is a small chance that maybe if I go out into the woods and sit still in the cold while insects swarm around my face, I might get a shot at a big animal and then eat that animal.

Maybe this is not surprising. I may not be very motivated by vanity, but I’ve always been motivated by food.

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