The Other Fall Sport

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By: Kyle Behner – September 12, 2016

It is a busy time of year. School has started and two-a-day practices for fall sports have just finished. Many students are already consumed with studying and sports.

Kyle Behner and a friend on a hike during hunting season. Photo by Kyle Behner

Kyle Behner and a friend on a hike during hunting season. Photo by Kyle Behner

However, for some, their days are spent day-dreaming about camouflage, chilly early morning air, and long days in the mountains. Hunting season is approaching fast and is already underway in some areas. Whether done by bow or firearm, hunting season is a special time for many people. It pro- vides friends and families with an opportunity to experience the outdoors and isolate themselves from society while participating in a sport that can be very physically demanding. Conserving wildlife and its habitats, putting meat on the table, and just experiencing nature are some of the most popular reasons to hunt.

Those who have never gone hunting may wonder why hunting is such a big deal. For most, the answer is that hunting is not just a sport, but a way of life. Many people have been hunting since they could walk. Their earliest memories consist of a role model informing them on how to be an effective tracker in the woods and explaining the difference between a white tail deer and a mule deer. A desire to understand nature was embedded in them at a young age and as time went by this desire turned into passion that brought them back to the woods year after year.

The great thing about hunting is that you don’t have to grow up a hunter to enjoy it. Hunting is a sport that people of any age can appreciate for the first time. After passing a hunter’s education course and obtaining a firearm or bow, tags to legally hunt certain animals are easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive. For more information on what it takes to start hunting, in Montana, visit the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website (http://fwp.mt.gov/).

The simplicity of this process makes it easy for anyone to experience buck fever, a nervous uncontrollable shaking that takes place before harvesting either the first animal, or a very large animal. Hunting season is a time full of tradition and appreciation for nature. It provides a challenge that is unmatched in any other pursuit.

The experience is eye opening and often leaves new hunters with a strong feeling of obligation for the conservation of wildlife. Hunting is not all about the size of the antlers or horns on the animal harvested. It is about understanding the role that hunters play in wildlife conservation, and making sure that generations to come have an opportunity to experience nature.

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