In a world of regressed attention spans, six second vines, and one hundred and forty characters I have decided to do the most logical thing, start a long form blog. To be heard over the screaming content streams of social networks and if it bleeds it leads headlines seems an insurmountable task. Yet. Here I am, writing my inaugural blog post, on a website I built, marketed on social networks. Linked, and crossed linked, back linked, boosted post, mail campaign... It takes an ego the size of a presidential candidate to think scaling this mountain is possible, or, naiveté.
I am very shy, truly, though not in a debilitating way. I get along just fine. I have rich lasting relationships, though fewer than some more sociable folks, mine tend to be a little more deliberate and curated. I will say though, perhaps due to my retreating personality, much of my life has just happened. Somewhere along the highs and lows I lost focus on the destination, or perhaps I never truly defined what the destination was. The day to day got in the way of the why, and the someday turned into the I wish. Then the ticking time bomb of complacency detonated. My daughter came into this world. I instantly felt the depth of how my life would change the day she was born. The first few weeks were a range of emotions, fear, inadequacies, love, despair, exhaustion. I can honestly say each day has been better than the last. I have learned the overused phrase, "you just don't understand love until you have kids" is a gross understatement of the emotions of raising kids. Then reality hit. How can I uplift my daughter to aspire to follow her dreams, conquer her nemesis, or slay dragons if her father only had what ifs, and I wishes? So, here I am, aspiring outdoor blogger, shy, awkward, underfunded, and overwhelmed proving to my daughter that you can do anything you set your mind to. Setting out to show that being yourself, defining your why, slaying those dragons, and achieving dreams still happens.
You can choose certain things in life, others are chosen for you, and others are so deep it’s like God himself placed them there. I chose to become a husband and a father. I am a Texan because my parents chose to live there. I am a hunter because I don't know how not to be. I admit, that sounds ridiculous. But the few amongst those reading this who are hunters know this to be true. In the woods, the mountains, the meadows, my shyness shines. I can think more intently. I can see more truly. I can spend hours listening to the moaning cedars against the fall wind and never question if it was time well spent. Aldo Leopold said, "There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot". I cannot.
I am not blood thirsty, and I do not relish in the death of any animal. But, one must kill to have hunted. Without the kill you are just hiking. That's not to disparage hikers, it’s a fine institution. However, hikers typically keep to a trail and they observe, don't touch, and leave. Hunters participate, meaning for a brief moment they intertwine themselves and participate in nature and become a part of it. We see and feel the outdoors and the animals we pursue on a viscerally primal level. Outside the monumental events of my life, I have no more vivid memories than that of days spent afield.
With the culmination of a successful hunt, a true sportsman must take great care in preserving all the useful parts of the game. Each useful ounce of flesh and bone should be handled with care and respect. Life eats life; there is no escaping this fact. So if one chooses to hunt and harvest the purest form of protein available today, then it is a task he must not wade into lightly. My family, for the most part, are venison eaters. Meaning more meals that involve meat are made from venison than there are those that do not. For pork, it’s wild. Poultry, on the other hand is store bought. I am a duck and goose hunting virgin. I have hopes for my first turkey this season. My dove hunting is social but rare. Eating primarily protein that I killed and butchered myself lends me a much deeper perspective of food than the average American, and a level of thankfulness and thoughtfulness of its origins I think few have in today's culture.
Hunting and conservation is a vast and dynamic world and one that I cherish. The American model of conservation is the world’s highest standard and is commonly used as a comparison, worldwide, to aspire to. I pledge to dedicate much of this blog's content to the concepts, ideals, and efforts of today’s conservation battles that will decide the future of our beloved wildlife. I refuse to accept a future for my children without the screams of a rutting elk cutting the morning silence, the striking handsomeness of a pronghorn buck against a distant sage flat prairie, or the humbling embrace of a trophy landscape that we all share and love as public landowners.
I have great intentions for this blog, grand illusions of thoughtful prose, witty titles, and succulent recipes. I pray I can achieve it. I pray whoever is reading this to push me along and grow with me. I am hopeful for what the future holds, the places I will see, and the people I will meet. But most of all I am relieved to have finally started something that has been tumbling around my head for close to two years. So, in a blogosphere where primarily the only successful blogs are blogs about blogging, I guess you can say I am now a blogger.