I Became A Hunter This Weekend: My First Experience In The Woods Shooting Guns And Tracking Animals

As you may have seen on twitter this weekend, I ventured out to Canton, IL to try hunting for the first time with Barstool Outdoors host, Sydnie Wells, and a pygmy. 

Truthfully, I've always wanted to try hunting. I've always liked being out in nature. I like being left alone. I love eating meat like any red blooded American male and I think there is something to be said for getting your meat yourself the old fashioned way. I also consume a healthy amount of Joe Rogan and Steven Rinella content and they make it seem so cool. We set this up with Sydnie a while back when she was in studio to do a snake draft and this trip did not disappoint. Great learning experience and a fun time down state with WSD. 

We didn't get anything this time except for the bug to become real hunters. I didn't even have an opportunity to shoot at an animal. I think that may have been for the best to be honest. I've always thought I would have no problem shooting an animal from an ethical/emotional standpoint, but once we got all of our gear on, whispered and stepped lightly through the woods on the way to the deer stand the first day I started to waver on that thought. When you're in the stand with a rifle in your hand it's no longer a hypothetical. It is VERY real. We sat out in the cold for hours and only saw couple deer in the distance so on day 1 I never had to put it to the test. 

We got back to the cabin and I was completely gassed. Exhausted. Could've gone to bed at 830pm and slept through the night. It didn't make any sense to me because all I did was sit in a tree quietly. Old buddy Ryan Hartman had this to say and it makes sense

Your, eyes, ears, and brain are working over time. I don't think I have focused so intensely on anything like that in YEARS. Every bird call, every crunch of leaves, every time the wind blows, every shadow moving in the distance, and every time you hear an elk screaming his fucking lungs out matters. It's this strange combination of nothingness and everything at the same time. All while sitting in tree silently with a deadly weapon in your hands. Every sound and movement matters. It's peaceful and intense. 

On Day 2 we got up at the crack. Awake at 4:40AM. Coffee at 4:55AM. In the tree stand by 5:20AM or so waiting quietly for the sun to rise and the woods to come alive. For whatever reason on Day 2 I felt much more comfortable with the idea of smoking Bambi's parents with hot lead and eating their heart like Kevin Costner did with the buffalo in "Dances With Wolves". More than comfortable. I wanted it. I needed it. One point just before dawn I could hear footsteps of an animal approaching. The adrenaline was unlike anything I've felt. Focus, intensity, heart thumping, but still calm somehow. I was ready and…it was a raccoon. Nothing to kill, but still everything to see. For the next 3 hours I was locked the fuck in ready to snipe a deer, but they never came. 

I asked Sydnie and her dad how many deer were on their property and they said likely hundreds total. Well I saw a grand total of 2 over a 48 period so they are fucking great at hiding. So good at hiding that I am taking it as a challenge. WSD and I have committed to going back down in two weeks. I need to finish the job. I need the blood and the peace. 

A few other notes

--WSD is a legitimate sniper with a 12 gauge shotgun. A prodigy. He could not miss and he has never shot one before. 

--I hit zero clay pigeons with the 12 gauge

--I don't think I will ever be truly comfortable with guns. If that makes me a pussy then so be it. WSD accidentally walked in front of me at one point trying to pick something up while my shot gun was loaded and his life flashed before my eyes. Imagine if I blew his right arm off and he could never do the speed pitch ever again? I couldn't live with myself. Sydnie's dad said that feeling of nervousness will go away with practice so I am going to continue to try, but I am not so sure.

--I love the bows though

That felt more nature for me and more comfortable. They're not going to accidentally go off, but still very dangerous. Supposedly much harder to kill with a bow, but I am going to practice so I can do it. I'd also much rather hurt myself than someone else.

All in all a great time. I think I have a new hobby. Had a great time making the videos with Sydnie and WSD.