This is a guest post from Wired To Hunt reader Matt Kline 

By Matt Kline

The intellectual mind loves the complexity that is often found just beyond simplicity; hunting is the most primal example of this concept. A stick and string, a shaft and blade, both are simple combinations; yet so beautifully complex. What defines a hunter? Is the title deserving of those who simply enjoy pursuing game? While I have hunted for many years, I would conclude that the time in which I could be truly considered a hunter would be a much shorter period. I’m not sure that there are specific qualifications for becoming a hunter, but rather a certain passion and desire that is achieved.

It was in a moment for me, when I evolved from simply enjoying to hunt, to truly becoming a hunter. It was a cool, early October afternoon; a light rain drizzled, almost like a mist. I climbed into a giant red oak with that age old stick and string, and soon thereafter, my life was changed forever. It’s funny how moments that seem so unimportant, or irrelevant, can suddenly become locked into the genetic makeup of our lives. Right there in the highlight reel that is the important moments of my life, like the day I met my wife Courtney or when I received a call that my grandfather had passed away, sits a vivid recollection of that October afternoon. The one in which I harvested my first deer with a bow and arrow; the one in which I evolved from simply enjoying to hunt, to suddenly needing to.

From that moment on and more so every year, when a cool breeze blows on late August evenings, I feel a shiver run down my spine. I know that the time is near. Much like a mother is driven to nurture and care for her child, I am called to hunt. This passion is a part of me, and I am no longer able to turn it off. Hunting, to me, is not simply a hobby or a sport, or a way to pass the time; it is who I am, my essence, my being. From the seasons that seem to pass so quickly, to the few seconds that feel as if they’ll last forever; I am infatuated with this lifestyle.

Hunting awakens emotions that are often lost in our everyday lives. The realization that life is a temporary state is always present in the deer woods. Some look past this, I embrace it. Much like the deer that I admire so much, I too will someday arrive at the end. I’m okay with that, I find it quite beautiful. I don’t believe that life would be as sacred if it did not end. Hunting is not simply the act of killing, but the experience of immersing ourselves in nature’s journey. From the colors of early October, to the bitterness of late January, we are there, embracing the world around us.

Mature bucks haunt our dreams, but it would only measure as fractions of a percent of the time we spend on stand that they are actually in our presence. Like some kind of long lost love, photographs and memories are all we have to remind us that they exist and we must keep pushing. We keep on pushing. When those moments of success finally do shine on us, and the happiness and pure joy subsides, we are hit with an odd sense of emptiness. All that work, all that passion and desire, suddenly has paid off and our quest is over. We can now rest. However, there sits the beauty of hunting. The hope and drive of a new season is always on the horizon, and we quickly get back to work. Our adventure is never over, it is a lifelong journey.

I’m truly thankful that there are so many others out there who share this passion. I find that I am never with strangers when I am around my fellow hunters, and the conversation never runs short. I’m guessing that if you’re a frequent flyer on websites like this one, you have likely had a moment in your life that has changed you as well.

So here is a call to action: In the comments below, tell us about that moment. That moment when you knew that you didn’t simply enjoy being in the outdoors or deer hunting, but you were driven to. When you knew this was a lifelong journey for you, rather than just a hobby. We’re excited to hear what you have to say!