Wildwood Outfitters Blog and Fishing Report
When I first met my wife she told me how much she liked to archery hunt. Despite hunting all through my teen years and my dad running an archery shop in our hometown, the sport had never taken hold of me. Instead, my autumn weekends were spent chasing fish, which in turn led to a healthy obsession with fly fishing. Once our relationship progressed and we became engaged and moved in together, it was only natural that she learned how to fly fish, and I learned how to archery hunt.
I went into my first archery season with no real notions about what to expect or knowledge about what to do. Hunting in earlier years was as simplistic as going out on the first day of rifle doe season and waiting for everyone else to shoot and start moving the deer around and then shoot one yourself. The whole thing would be over after two hours of hunting on one day. Success was measured in how quickly one would return to camp with a tag filled. When it comes to archery, the cerebral aspect appealed to me greatly, as did the learning progression over the course of the 6 week season. My wife would talk about stand location, wind direction, movement in the stand, the rut, and a slew of other factors to consider each and every night we would go out. It didn't take many evenings 20 feet up in a tree before the realization set in that this was something that would stick with me for the rest of my life.
Archery dug its roots in so quickly in part, because of its striking similarity to fly fishing, my true passion in life. Fly fishing is also a cerebral sport, with constant checking of weather reports, stream gauges, bug hatching charts, fishing reports, and that's all before you even get to the water! Aside from the mental side of things, I enjoy both activities because they take an outdoor activity, and ramp up the difficulty. It would probably be fair to question someone's sanity for saying they actually enjoy things being difficult, but it adds an extra degree of excitement to hunting and fishing for me.
It's important to note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with hunting with a rifle or fishing with bait and lures; neither is just what I prefer to do. The sporting nature of fly fishing and archery appeals to me at a much deeper level than the literal harvest of an animal or catching of a fish. I would rather get skunked fly fishing than catch a two footer with bait. I'd also rather spend the entire month of October without pulling my bow back than have my whole hunting season be over within one morning of rifle season. The manner in which the sport is done is a big part of what makes the end result feel so gratifying!
It's been interesting over the last couple years to see how my wife's archery hunting passion and my fly fishing passion have blended together and seeped into each other's way of thinking. Both sports have evolved into loves for each of us, and it's mostly because of the similarities between them. The mental "game" behind things and the higher degree of difficulty appeals to us, even at times when it's frustrating watching a buck stand broadside 70 yards away or a fisherman hammer steelhead on egg sacks. Does enjoying things that are difficult mean we need our heads examined? Possibly, but that will have to wait until the deer tags are filled and the fish stop biting!