Thankful Outdoors: Hunting Passion – What stokes the fire?

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – It’s that time of year where the group text message conversation between Dad and my brothers has been active. We share updates about our outings and thoughts about what is happening in the outdoors. Since Dad is retired now and has the most unrestrained time available, he starts many conversations.

Trail camera pictures are being shared, sightings of bucks as we go about our day-to-day travels, updates as to where we see scrapes and rubs. One would think that we are the board of directors giving the company updates on the progress of the organization.

Every year the projected forecast of how our season will go indicates that shoulder mounts will be on display later! In comparing the real-world results of our forecast, we have been in the red most years, and once in a while, we get a winner, and we ride that win for two or three years.

With every day of the month ticking away and getting us closer to November, our conversations have switched over to the necessary evil of having jobs to pay for the passion of being in the outdoors. Bills need to be paid, and families need to be raised. 

One of my conversations with the group was, remembering when you were younger and wanted to get out of school; all one had to do was turn in a permission slip from your parent. Sometimes, that permission slip was a forged signature. Dad’s signature was so much easier to sign than Mom’s, so his John Hancock was always used in our escape note.

Could you imagine in today’s world if all I had to do was turn in a note to my employer, saying, “Scott will not be at work during October and November? If any questions call me. Thank you, Paul Hopperdietzel.” I’m pretty sure the HR department would not be impressed with this tactic.

My brother Kurt suggested that hunters be allowed off work from October 20th until the end of November. He said that we would all be much happier employees if that time off were granted to us. The way the workforce is going, this idea might be in the works; okay, a guy can dream a little bit!

As I think about this time of year, I know that my focus and mind sure do shift to the thought of chasing deer. It’s constantly on my mind as I think about prior hunts, what worked in different situations what didn’t work. The thrill of playing chess against whitetail deer is addicting.

I have noticed more and more in my conversations with others about the outdoors in the comments about how the outdoors clears the mind, is good for the soul, a connection with god’s creations. 

When I was younger, I don’t recall hearing those comments or having those conversations with others. Have I reached an age where those things in life are more appreciated? Have recent events in the world gotten people to slow down and enjoy some of the small things in life? Did Co-Vid allow enough time for people to sit around campfires and reflect on what matters in life?

Whatever the reason, maybe there is one thing that I know is that October and November are two months that I look forward to every year. The extra time spent with family, the stories shared with strangers, and seeing all the excitement of the adventures of one outdoor experience. 

When I no longer feel that excitement of the outdoors, that is when I will know it’s time to retire my hunting boots, the camo clothes will be packed away, the guns and bows will be handed down to the younger generation. 

A few years back, I recall sitting in an oak tree on a beautiful fall day, watching deer feed on acorns, and I said, “God give me the ability to get to this spot for at least 30 more years.” That day I got caught up filming a buck and didn’t take a shot. It’s not all about filling tags when I get outdoors; it’s about stoking that passion that burns deep inside!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.