For the most part, this remained a valid measure of success until roughly the last century. In today’s world, virtually no one hunts solely for survival. Nevertheless, in some small, remote way, that old concept of success, as a measure of a hunter’s worth, remains.
Maybe this lingering attitude has now become a pale reflection of our highly competitive society, in which the final outcome is the yardstick to which everything is measured.
More than ever before, change is on the wind. Bowhunting success has come to mean much more than taking an animal. The underlying attraction to hunting with archery equipment is that it places the hunter and game on a more equal footing. We want to be challenged, then when success does come, it is much sweeter.
We no longer have to hunt to satisfy a growling belly, so new motivations and standards provide the drive to bowhunt. Like the famous phrase, “It’s not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game.”
Today, many hunters venture into the woods for the total outdoor experience. Learning about the game we seek, enjoying beautiful surroundings and a communion around a crackling campfire with family and friends is what’s important. These connections are what link us to our hunting roots, which are more important now that our lives are so far removed from the natural world. After all, why would we even want to hunt if we didn’t enjoy everything that went along with it? As long as a hunting trip is uplifting and fun, we have not failed!
But, don’t get me wrong. Occasionally taking game is important. A bowhunter works hard to become successful. Without harvesting game every so often, we lose intensity and direction unique to hunting with archery equipment. A connection to our past can be consecrated in no other way than by seeking and ultimately taking game — if only once in a while.