Wednesday, November 14, 2007


When my recent weekend of hunting finally ended, I told my boyfriend the unthinkable: I might want to take a break next weekend.

I'm fighting a cold, I'm still tired and I haven't even been able to get the boots of my waders to dry out. I've been neglecting the yard. I haven't dusted or vacuumed in weeks. Friends have invited us to go wine tasting in the Sierra foothills. I have a major project to do - converting our outdoor cat to an indoor cat and introducing her to our existing indoor cat (hissing! clawing! fur flying!). Can't go off galavanting in a marsh. It totally makes sense to take a break.

But it's Wednesday, and I'm feeling the first stirrings of oh my God, the season doesn't last forever, how can I not go out?

Phillip of The Hog Blog commented on a recent post of mine about getting his girlfriend involved in hunting, and the frustrations that have kept her from becoming fully immersed. I don't know exactly what she's been through, but I've definitely experienced frustrations that left me shrouded in doubt. I remember a couple times out at the Delevan National Wildlife Refuge last year where I missed ridiculously easy shots and said to myself, Why am I doing this? I'd lay down my gun, lean against the tules and shut my eyes.

It never lasted more than 30 seconds.

Who was I kidding? I want to be a great huntress. I'll do whatever it takes to get there.

So there it is: My greatest enemy as a huntress - as it is in pretty much every aspect of my life - is overdoing it.

The words of the hunter I photographed on Monday for a magazine article keep ringing in my ears (or maybe that's just the ringing from all my hearing damage):

Well, make sure you don't make it feel like work. Make sure it's fun.
I've heard a lot of people say that, and I know they're right. Now it's time to see if I can act on it.

© Holly A. Heyser 2007


Phillip said...

Taking a break? Already?

Just kidding... you're absolutely right. Never let it seem like work. We hunt for fun, so if it stops being fun, give it some time. There's always next year (or you can chase hogs year-round).

Thanks for the link and the mention! Maybe we'll catch up some time out at one of the Golden Ram properties.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Oh no, now I feel guilty!

Seriously, it's not that the hunting is bad - truly, I love it. I'm happy as a clam out there. It's just that the other five days a week are also demanding. I'm not 20 anymore! The good news is I'm a college prof, which means I get a big fat break in about four and a half weeks. Yes, for literally half of the duck season, I'm off work. I'm truly blessed.

Re Golden Ram - absolutely! I'm hoping my first boar hunt will be down at Cholame, where my boyfriend bagged Jimmy Dean last year - a little boar named for the proximity of the hunt site to the James Dean crash site, but also for the fact that my boyfriend promptly made LOTS of sausage with him. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Anonymous said...

I think, as with anything you enjoy, there are times when you need to step back a bit. Everyone has so many demands made on them already. Things that are fun shouldn't become work. If you feel like stepping back, step back. There will always be other hunting opportunities.

Phillip said...

I can totally relate, Norcal. My workaday life gets pretty radical, and doesn't leave a lot of time outside of weekends.

I've long had a tendency to throw everything else aside and go hunting, though. Keeps me sane (relatively).

Cholame is a great hunt, especially when the barley comes up this spring. I know I'll be there!

NorCal Cazadora said...

This just in:

My boyfriend's been invited to a professional event Sunday where spouses aren't invited, so I may just have to make it up to myself by doing a late-morning walk-on at one of the refuges up here. That'll show 'em!

I know, I know. Resistance is futile. I'm so weak.