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Author Topic: That Whole “Circle of Life Thing” - Calvin Peters  (Read 494 times)

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That Whole “Circle of Life Thing” - Calvin Peters
« on: June 16, 2003, 07:57:00 PM »
That Whole “Circle of Life Thing”

by Calvin Peters

Spring, 2003

It aint flower arraigning after all…It IS a blood sport. Guys are running around in the bush with a half dozen sticks with surgical sharp points on ‘em. Anything can happen. Heard more than once of bow hunters falling on a broadhead, or ramming them through them selves to various degrees of “stitches” point is, “Hunting Bears with Bows” is not entirely without risk. Not to mention that sometimes the bears know that you are there. And “No” I did not take a gun with me.

My Parents are from the “Staying in a Hotel IS camping” mindset, and definatly don’t understand my pre-occupation with hunting in general, and bow hunting in particular. They think that one of these days, I am going to grow up and start acting my age. I am sure that I didn’t say anything to put their minds at ease…that first paragraph contains some of the dialogue we shared when I called to say hello while I was passing through their town on my way to the bush. I guess the biggest point that I didn’t make was… “If it were without risk, I wouldn’t be interested.” Sometimes I get a little defensive of the things that I do and how I decide to spend my time. I finally drew the line and stopped trying to get them to understand.

Some people just don’t get it.

When I was up in the stands, I had many hours to think…something that seems to come a little easier in the fresh air, and with an eager bow within reach. I find that all my hunts are preoccupied with a theme of some sort, there always seems to be different stuff going on in my life, and other information that requires processing…and I do just that.

This time the theme was death.

My “Significant Other’s” Grandmother was in ICU as I left for hunting camp…at her age, the road can end suddenly. One day you are fine, the next you are on death’s door with pneumonia. I guess that was on my mind, and also the conversation I had with my Parents on the way out there.

I was trying to convey to them that in the circle of life thing that I am a part of in the wilderness…sometimes you die. I stopped short of explaining that to them, I was sure they wouldn’t understand. I just think that sometimes hunters are a little more attuned to their own mortality. So I guess that was kind of my “mental” theme on this trip.

That whole “Circle of life” thing, and why.

Now my hunting partner wasn’t aware of any of this deep thought. Because of course the trip was all about hunting bears, and being in the right place at the right time. And I for one wanted to avail myself to the possibility of shooting a bear if the opportunity presented itself. And I did just that. I was ready. The bears had other ideas…but that is also something that I am comfortable with.

I measure my success with a little bit different barometer than most non-hunters. My goals are different, and I for sure care about animals a whole hell of a lot more than anti or non-hunters, but that is not the point. Point is I would have smoked a bear if I had the chance, which I did not. And that brings me back to sitting in a tree stand for many hours mentally bashing out this whole circle of life thing.

It struck me as odd that my Parents (and a surprising amount of other people for that matter) who are not interested in hunting at all…would think that it is imperative to take a gun with you as “back up” when bow hunting bears. In my perspective, if someone were trying to take my life, I would consider it fair that I try and defend it. Sort of like if the bear was trying to hook me outta a tree, I would think that was still fair. Sort of defending himself like. Perhaps that is part of the thrill for me. He defiantly has the ability to defend himself, and being on his turf, he certainly has the advantage. I wouldn’t take a shot that I didn’t believe in anyway. I guess I just don’t see the point in bow hunting with a gun beside me. I am sure there is a lot of other bow hunters that would have a different opinion than me, and that’s ok too.

But there I am, sitting as still as possible in a stand, covered with mosquito’s of course…thinking about all this…and dying.

 It seems to me that Mother Nature doesn’t particularly care about me over anyone else, clearly far better people than I, have been taken out of the game of life by simply making a choice that would prove to be the wrong one. For some reason I seem to really enjoy the wilderness, and the freedom of wild places. Places where if you decide to turn left instead of right for example, you possibly could find yourself in a fight for your own life. Weather changes, vehicle breakdowns, you didn’t wear the right clothes…suddenly you realize how little Mother Mature cares…or perhaps how much she does.

You can go from Hero to Zero in less than a second.

It is pure life, primal. The same sort of thing that these animals live with each and every day.

The ebb and flow of the tide…the sun rising and going down. One animal’s meat feeds another. An ageless, relentless progression of “life” that has stood before the invention of time. I dare say, it will recover and continue after mankind has made it’s last mistake of caring for this planet.

It’s as natural as the lack of control I have over what happens next.
That IS the wilderness experience.

 Are we a little more attuned to that frequency than non-hunters? I think so. I have been turned around in the bush. It only takes a second. Will that be the end? Will the weather close in? IF I break my leg…those last 3 miles to the truck will take on a whole new meaning.

This is reality. This is my reality. And I go great distances to get to it.

 For some reason, the idea of dying in an old folks home somewhere…is not appealing. Slow cancer taking my life bit by bit and day after day is not a comfortable one either. I thought a lot about the Indian way of going for that “Long Walk” and of course not returning, and I think that maybe there is something to be said for that. In the arrogance of youth I can sit here and talk about how easy it would be to just walk away from everything for the last time…but I think it is an interesting concept anyway. I am smart enough to realize my perspective might change with age, but hey…there is a certain amount of respect there. I do think it would be more natural to go…outside in the great outdoors.

I returned home to an old lady in the hospital that was incredibly irritated that she was still here. She was mad that she might have missed her opportunity to die. Well into her 80’s her life is nearing it’s mortal end, and she is aware of that. She walked right up to death’s door…and got turned around somehow. She will face at least a 3-month recovery, only to make it back home in time for fall, and then another long winter. I think she wants to go for a long walk.  

In fact she is kind of bitter that she was brought back.

Now there is something that is not talked about too much. Our civilized country doesn’t think that is wise. We think that success is measured by how long we live. As if making it to 100 is the goal or something. We want to look younger and live longer. But if you ask the old people, some of their lives are filled with constant pain, and they are getting tired of burying their friends. They understand the circle of life thing…and know that theirs is closing in. Maybe there is peace there.

Rest.

 A time to stop fighting.

I dunno, these are just thoughts that occurred to me while I had some time to think about my own mortality, and that of a bear.


Had destiny been a little bit different, I would have shot the bear that I worked so hard for.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, and sometimes the ones you pay for, aren’t that great either. Nothing is easy. As the old boys are fond of saying… “That’s why it’s called hunting, and not killing.” I do know that I am comfortable with the way that things turned out.

I spent some quality time hunting, and trying to get a handle on life.

I still don’t have any answers, I still don’t have a bear rug at the taxidermist and I certainly didn’t get to eat any fresh bear back straps either, but you may find this last part interesting,

Chris Carignan, the fellow that hosted my hunt up there, was obviously feeling like I would have enjoyed myself a bit more if I had gotten a bear, or at least he was apologizing for that not happening, as if he was responsible for that somehow.

 I looked at him hard and really tried to get him to understand my perspective…

Chris, “Everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”

We are already planning a bear hunt for next spring.

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