Lonesome Journey: A Properly Conducted Method Hunt

The journey is often a lonesome one. Seems there are few who choose to follow those sometimes anxious, difficult steps toward success in the hunting fields when the very outset is plagued by obstacles, obstacles that are perhaps only perceived because of a marked absence of modernity in equipment. These who are reticent to join in are victims of the high-tech, are convinced that every trinket and anything new is essential. If that success mentioned above is judged fully by game taken, there is some validity in such thinking as that exhibited by those who neglect the finer nuances in favor of the latest devices.

Success, however, is not solely taking the biggest or most when hunting is the selected path. Success is considerably more complex, something that reaches to the core of one’s being and is determined by that one and that one alone. A look at method hunting is a viable beginning.

This can be a great many things, but it certainly has become associated with employing elements of the past. Moving from compound bows to recurves or longbows or even to more primitive units such as selfbows constitutes method. Such a move brings with it intrinsic obstacles. Or more accurately stated, brings with it an enhanced challenge. Sensible range is, in most instances, suddenly reduced by 10 yards or more. And there is that factor of skill. To adopt the method of traditional archery rather than the modern contrivances demands skills that can require a protracted amount of time to master if one is to be ethical and efficient. This mastering, however, is simply one of the layers of complexity defining success.

DSC_0020 copyConsider for a moment moving from modern rifles and shotguns to muzzleloaders, another approach toward method. One can stop short at that destination of meeting legal requirements when dealing with these tools. There are more than a few muzzleloaders that meet the criteria set by legislation, which stipulates only that the firearm be loaded from the muzzle. But these remain more or less modern firearms – scope sighted, powered by substitute black powder and shotgun primers, casting completely modern projectiles often riding the bore in a sabot. Still, a method one must suppose.

But go farther. Plunge into the depths of muzzleloading, and all those ingredients just highlighted vanish, replaced by open sights, round balls or loose shot, genuine black powder, percussion caps or flints. Each step back creates its own set of potential difficulties, generating a greater challenge that tugs at the heart of one who is determined to see if he or she could have survived in those days of antiquity. The choice to do so or where to stop in history is again personal. But whichever is embraced, it practically shouts “Properly conducted.” This portion, the properly conducted, is another layer of success, and peeling it away diminishes the reward, even removes properly conducted from the equation.

It seems an affront to any backward journey to take along ingredients that were not common to the selected era. Camo, while clearly effective, molests the sanctity of a flintlock rifle. Modern ground blinds disturb sensibilities when pursuing the grand and gaudy wild turkey, while toting a long-barreled fowler. Decoys are best left behind, along with mass-produced calling devices. Put in their place more obscure parcels: hunting skills, patience, a willingness to go home minus game. Success, then, takes on a subliminal and substantial meaning filled with essence, intrigue, romance, wonderment. This mindset will demand and encourage a properly conducted hunt. Success, at least those obscure but nevertheless essential pieces of the whole, will expand exponentially, realized and celebrated by the one who exercises the discipline and resolve to conduct the entire episode in proper fashion.

Yes, there will be those who don’t understand, even criticize, refuse to give credence, perhaps leaving the participant feeling as if a lonesome journey has just unfolded. But the one who experiences it all and knows the truth of the entire process will come away enriched, empowered.

And when that one does collect the game pursued, that one will then possess a full grasp of what success is truly all about.

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