Sitting On The Fringe
Published: October 14th, 2016
By: Josh Sheldon

There are many sayings in life that have multiple meanings. It’s not often that more than one is still a good description of one’s self.

As hunters I feel we perceive the world a bit differently than those that don’t hunt. We carry ourselves in a different manner, rationalize at a different level, make sacrifices that most wouldn’t and experience harshness the likes of which would make the common man/woman quiver. In a world packed with grocery stores, why would anyone hunt and what would possess someone to suffer, in hopes of getting what is seen as easily obtainable? Being a good sport, getting back on the horse and learning to deal with failure are important traits to have in life, but impact the lives of hunters quite a bit more.

I spent this Sunday at the Wolf Mountain Nature Center sitting on the fringe. You may have seen me chipping a few arrowheads, or twisting up some cordage. Although I was off to the side because I was demonstrating, that’s likely where I would have been any way. I’m one of those people that don’t enjoy large crowds and especially not being the center of attention in one. I love solitude, peace, quiet and the relaxation drawn from wild places. When I do attend large events I feel most comfortable on the outskirts and will rarely be found in the midst of it. I’m pretty sure many reading this can relate and live the life you do because that’s what makes you happy. It’s so common to label someone like us as anti-social or disconnected. The truth is, most of us have a connection that others have lost and the only thing we are anti about is anti-hunting. We live our lives attempting to impact the lives of others in a negative way as little as possible and accept others life choices. We are so busy enjoying our lives that we rarely even think about how others live and beyond that, would consider it shallow and a waste of time to ridicule and or attempt to stop someone else’s way of life. I guess that’s why I think anti-hunters are the scum of the polluted earth, in which they are happy to facilitate in most cases. We choose to mind our own business and wish others would learn to do the same.

The way hunters are perceived by the uneducated populous, has a tendency to make us want to stay on the outskirts, so that’s typically where you will find us. As hunters we recognize these places to be high deer traffic areas and capitalize on them regularly. Interspersion is the term used to describe the mingling of land features, these are the places you should be focusing on as a hunter if you aren’t. My favorites are field edges bordered by hardwoods or thickets and almost anything along a lake, pond or river. Stream edges are fine, but the deer’s ability to cross anywhere makes them a bit lower quality. The goal is to find an area in which the deer will be transitioning from bed to feed or vice versa, in a way that makes them take the same trail or few trails within range of you. Cliff edges and steep banks can also serve the same purpose, but funnels are the holy grail of hunting spots. Funnels are areas in which game must pass through in an attempt to avoid being seen, or because the terrain dictates it. My favorites are field edges along the river. They almost always have some thick brush between the field edge and the water. It’s almost a guarantee there will be heavy trails in it and will be a great ambush point. The only problem with these spots is deer tend to go into the water and die. It’s good to be ready for a swim, have a rope, or have picked areas in which the current will drift the deer to the bank on your side. It would be the worst thing, to watch one float out of sight and have no way of retrieving it.

As hunters we rise early and hike to the top of mountains, we endure the coldest temperatures, most nasty wind and weather possible, all to get a chance or two at harvesting the healthiest and most pure protein available. It’s true you can buy meat at the store, but you will never see free range wild venison available there. This is why most of us hunt; it’s not for some big horns, bragging rights with the buddies, another tale to tell or to simply kill something. It’s all about food to me and if a big one walks by, well then lucky me. This is my lifestyle, the way I choose to live and in my mind the healthiest, purest and most guilt free way to fill my freezer. Like many others I am happy with this life and wouldn’t choose another style of living. Hard work and a little suffering will allow you to really appreciate what you have collected or harvested to eat. How many thank the steak you picked up in the store, opposed to those that thank a downed animal for the life it has given? Separation from the reality of death creates a negligible respect for the animal that has given itself for your sustenance and this is why I choose to hunt. I love and cherish the creatures of this earth and owe my way of life to them and in some cases my life itself. It would seem odd to me not to offer my respects to something that has lost its life to perpetuate mine. This is what people on the outskirts of society choose to live like and I think It’s the best way to do so.

Good wishes sit the fringe and fill the freezer.

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