My friend, Bill, spends a lot of time hunting out-of-state. It seems each fall his hunting adventures routinely take him to such places as Colorado or New Mexico elk hunting, Montana or Wyoming searching for antelope, Canada for moose, South Dakota and Iowa for whitetails…all in all he’s typically away from home about six weeks each fall living a sporting life that involves hunting beyond Minnesota’s borders.
Indeed, to many Minnesota sportsmen, Bill lives the kind of hunting life most of us only dream about experiencing on an annual basis. Well, that’s not happening for him this year. A few days ago, Bill, sheepishly admitted to me this year would not be the typical fall season he’s grown accustomed to experiencing.
Like it has for many us, the current economic downturn has pinched Bill in the pocketbook. Discretionary spending, like taking expensive hunting and fishing trips, sometimes regrettably takes a back seat to paying the mortgage, utility bill, car payment…you get the picture.
Of course, Bill’s not alone this upcoming hunting season. I’ve spoken to several other sportsmen who also have plans to stick a bit closer to home with their hunting pursuits. Consider it the hunter’s version of the recently popular “staycation.” Yet, these folks aren’t sacrificing their thrill for hunting adventure; instead, they’re rediscovering how to enjoy doing it much closer to home. And if you ask me, that’s a good thing.
I’ll admit I’ve taken my share of hunting trips out West and there’s no denying it’s a wonderful destination experience. Whether it’s hiking the rugged Rockies in search of elk or scouring the Great Plains for antelope, there are many quality adventures for hunters that simply can’t be duplicated by hunting in Minnesota.
Yet, beyond that fact, our quest for the ideal hunt can often be satiated right here at home…in our own backyard. Minnesota is certainly no slouch when it comes to offering an array of exciting hunting opportunities. Still, sometimes it takes a mental reset for some individuals to accept that hunting on a single tank full of gas can be nearly as fulfilling as traveling clear across the country.
I’m curious if other Minnesota sportsmen currently find themselves in a similar situation as my friend, Bill. Has a more limited household budget caused you to scale back your usual outdoor activities for this fall? What hunting or fishing trip have you sacrificed this year because the necessary funds were in shorter supply? Perhaps more importantly, if you’ve changed your plans…how exactly are you now planning to cope?
© 2009 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.