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November 2021
Author: Austin Atkinson

One of my favorite movies of the 90s was “Dennis the Menace.” As Mr. Wilson (Walter Matthau) is talking about life around kids, he explains, “You have to roll with the punches. You have to expect the unexpected.” Although this may be taken out of context, I feel his direction can be applied to us as hunters, especially with all we have experienced over the past two years of Covid-19 craziness.

I recently returned from my annual trip to Alaska guiding Dall sheep, grizzly bear, and mountain goat clients. We experienced an exceptional amount of bad weather this fall season, with many hunts being cut short or modified due to extreme weather delays. I spent time in villages, airports, and restaurants surrounded by other hunters frustrated out of their minds at the lack of schedule they were experiencing on their own hunts. Over the years, I have learned how to stay calm, enjoy the small things, and take things as they itinerary perfectly should take up golf or perhaps an indoor sport where vehicles, cell service, and time clocks abound. Alaska adventures and many other hunts are so dependent on change that all hunters should learn to suck it up and roll with it! Yes, bags are going to be delayed, your guide may be late or less experienced than you hoped, or the trophy quality may be much less than you expected. However, in the end, you must sit down, calm down, and smile! We have accustomed ourselves in our busy, 4G connected lives to have everything planned and available at our fingertips, but this can be to your detriment in the field.

I realize that for most of us hunting represents a significant investment of time and financial resources. I understand that you should plan and prepare every needful thing, but once you embark on the actual hunt, please expect the unexpected and roll with the punches as they come to you. Be courteous to your guide, your transporter, your friends, locals, airline employees, etc. Enjoy the journey, be thankful, accept change, and roll with it.