Thursday, September 27, 2012

Camo Doesn't Make the Man...

     There's an old quote that goes something like this...”The clothes don't make the man, but when he is made, his appearance is greatly improved.” Absolutely true. After all, you can put me in a Stetson, a pair of dusty boots and big, ol' shiny belt buckle, but that doesn't make me a cowboy. I can wear scrubs, carry a clipboard and a stethoscope, but you wouldn't want me as your doctor! The same can be said in the hunting world...Just because I wear camo brand A or camo brand B and have my 4x4 decal'ed up like a NASCAR racer doesn't make me a hunter...

      Hunting and being a hunter is more than appearances and looking the part. It's something deeper. Enjoyable and fun, but at the same time, serious and thought provoking. A hunter is an ambassador to the non-hunting public. He's part of a small, but visible group, in the publics eye and under the microscope in today's world. A hunter's individual actions represent our entire fraternity.

      A hunter isn't made by hours in front of the Sportsman Channel or Outdoor Network. A hunter isn't made by buying the must have, latest and greatest from the big box stores or by hanging onto every word from an outdoor “celebrity”...A hunter isn't made overnight. Being a hunter is about paying your outdoor dues in the cold, the heat, the rain and the snow. Dues paid through poison ivy rashes, stinging nettles and locust thorns. Dues paid with mosquito bites, ticks and deer flies.

      A hunter is ethical. Its about doing the right thing when no one is around. Hunting is about character. A hunter is respectful...Respect to the animals he pursues and the land he hunts. He respects the landowner who graciously opens up opportunities and the landowner that chooses to not allow access. A hunter honors fences and boundaries and the rights of other sportsman.

      Hunting isn't about instant gratification and over the top technology. Hunting is about skill and tradition and lessons learned and passed on. Being a hunter isn't always about inches of antler or the length of a turkey's beard. It's not about score this or weight of that. A hunter is patient and willing to wait. A hunter is a provider and self-sufficient and able to make do...A hunter is a survivor and a conservationist of the highest degree. A hunter is connected to the land he hunts and the game he chases. Being a hunter isn't about taking short cuts and ease of the path...

      Being a hunter is more than wearing this year's newest camouflage and looking the role...So yeah, the clothing or the “camo” in this case, doesn't make the man or the hunter, but when he is made, his appearance is greatly improved...A lesson I hope some of today's hunters will take to heart.