Each year, hunting gets harder. Age, aches, pains, and did I say aging? Whatever the reason or excuse, hunting through a lifetime does not get easier. As you enter your 60’s, the reality really sets in. Most of your reliable hunting buddies have fallen beside the wayside. Finding new companions is hard work.
Young Bucks do not want to be handicapped or slowed down by an Old Fart Hunter. When we were young, the same was true. But it is important to hook up with older hunters to mentor and learn. These OF’s have spent a lifetime learning, exploring, discovering, and developing all the hunting skills wanted by the Young Bucks’. They are few and hard to find. You need to hunt them down.
Mike Roland is one of my students and friend. We have hunted and fished together for years. He never makes me feel like a burden and has also taught me a lot. We never get too old to learn. Hunting and fishing trips are always a wonderful day. They are best spent with a friend and companion. Older sportsmen need a Wingman to stay safe and share the day.
Last week we hiked up to the top of a 10,000-foot mountain where I have hunted for years. This is a HARD hunt and takes about 12 miles. Physically being able to make this climb is challenging for a young man. I was not as fast as I once was, but I can still navigate the high country. We both made the Pilgrimage and crested the top. The view is one of those that makes you believe in a higher power. We both discussed how few people have ever been at this spot and how few friends we knew that could make this trek at any age.
The elk were there but a snow storm hit, and we needed to head back down the steep hill. There was already 5 inches of snow on the ground and new snow was stacking up fast. Going down is tougher than going up. Slick, snow covered trails, poor visibility, impaired scopes, glasses and optics make this tough. I had made this trek before and knew my direction. No GPS, technology, or map was needed. These old skills were still on cue. We came out right at the truck.
There is much to learn from an experienced veteran. Passing along the hunting torch is best done afield. The information, destinations, and skills needed to be a great hunter are there to be learned. Finding an Old Sage will help you become a better hunter. You will also discover that they are often more generous and allow you to take first shot, lead the way, or simply let rookies learn.
Hunters evolve. It is only over decades that this evolution can occur. A great hunter’s legacy is measured by the lessons, and stories shared with others. Going to your grave with secret hunting and fishing spots, a safe full of dusty, unused guns and gear, and trophies from great hunts is simply a waste.
“The most important things we learn in life, are the things we learn after we already know everything!”
For more Montana Grant, hut for him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.