There have been times in my life when people have asked me why I hunt. To me, there has never been a question. However, I struggle to find the words. I am often inspired by writings that describe my emotions, because I have a difficult time identifying them myself. Hunting, to me, is all about quiet mornings, watching squirrells, sneaking through the woods undetected, sunrises, sunsets, the smell of gunpowder, waking up early to a fresh pot of coffee, preparing for a hunt with friends the night before, time well spent with family, the thrill of the chase, the thrill of the kill, being a part of nature, and ultimately realizing that there is a higher power who created this all for us. I have been very blessed in my life. I am currently a college student/football player. Throughout highschool I was fortunate enough to have a lot of success on the field. Because of that, I earned a full-scholarship to a division 1A school to continue with my playing career. Over the last four years, it has been a wild ride. I have played in some of the greatest venues that our country has to offer a college football player. Although the ride has been thrilling, I have missed spending weekends in my deer stand during the rut. Over the last four years, there have been times when I really struggled to make it out there, due to a lack of time.I think it has affected me to the core. People do not realize what a sacrifice college football has been. It is a 365 day-a-year committment. Just last fall, I was standing on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium. We were playing against the Buckeyes, who would eventually play in the national championship. That stadium packed over 100,000 people. It was overwhelming to say the least. Being from Ohio, I had dreamed about playing in that game for my whole life. I know this sounds crazy, but before the game even started, I was actually looking forward to getting home that night. The reason was that I knew I would be able to hunt the next morning. Some people will judge me for looking a gift horse in the mouth. That is just not the case. I love football, but hunting is my life. I need it. I cannot live without it. Being in nature is something like a drug to me, and it is my one and only addiction. I think that there is just something about traveling far away to play in front of large crowds like that. It overwhelms me to the point of irritation. School bothers me too. I don’t like being around a whole lot of people at once. When I’m around a lot of concrete and steel for too long, I feel frustrated. People at school do not understand me. On the weekends when they go out to party, I go home and prepare my gear for a morning hunt. While they play video games, I usually head out to the archery range or go fishing. My girlfriend is the only one here who really understands me. We have been together for 3 years. It has taken some getting used to on her part. She is not a hunter herself, but she knows why I go home every weekend. Hunting takes me far away from football and school. It is my time to be out in God’s country clear of any worries. I can really separate from everything out there. I leave it all behind me when I step out into the woods. This past semester, my mother suffered a life-threatening situation. She was diagnosed with cranial aneurysms. Two of them burst in her brain. It was the scariest time of my life. She is my best friend, and we really thought that we were going to lose her. Between the surgeries and events that took place, I spent as much time as possible in the woods. Hunting helped me to cope with a difficult situation. Everybody deals with things differently, and that is how I got through that period in time. Luckilly, she is alright now. During that period of time when things were chaotic though, the only time when I could feel okay was when I was out there by myself. When I have no choice but to be at school, and I have some down time, I like to spend it reading. Specifically, a lot of time is spent on Archery Talk reading articles, and learning about equipment or new hunting tactics. I also read books about Fred Bear, Chuck Adams, Saxton Pope, Art Young, Fred Eichler, Theodore Roosevelt, etc. I will read anything that I can get my hands on if it deals with hunting. It eases my mind about other things as well. I may be the only 22 year old guy who cannot wait to graduate, go to work somewhere, and buy a piece of property for myself. I dream big too. I would rather have a shack in the woods than a 3-million dollar castle in the city. Though that sounds somewhat cliche, I really mean that. Give me a log cabin with a few acres attached. Watch me live happily ever after. I don’t want a mansion on Lake Shore Drive. I don’t want a million dollars. I just want enough. I don’t care what I do for my job, as long as I can afford my dream of buying a little farm somewhere to kick my feet up. For the time being, I will continue to sneak home with every spare minute I have. After a long week of suffocation at school, I know I can come up for air on the weekends. In the modest words of the great Fred Bear: “On most days spent in the woods, I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent.”