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September 2019 Soapbox

September 2019
Author: Austin Atkinson

All too often, we find it easy to be critical of those who are more privileged than we may be. They may have a bigger house, a better golf swing, more vacation time, or a larger hunting budget. While one may become wealthy as a result of their hard work, another may not be able to afford any out-of-state hunting, no matter the amount of dedication he puts in. From my perspective, the individuality of blessings seem to fall randomly. It is not fair to compare your opportunities against your peers.

For example, one hunter is proud to be working on his third Slam of North American Wild Sheep while a hunter from his same hometown just barely made it to Idaho for his first over-the-counter elk hunt. This division is not new, but comparing oneself to another has never been as easy as it is today. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I believe that as hunters we have a responsibility to ourselves to find joy in all that we elect to do.

Today, we have so many methods in which we can compare and rank ourselves against other hunters. Record books, videos, Facebook, and Instagram provide plenty of mediums in which to share your success, or lack of, and see which tier you fit into. It is all too easy to compare yourself to others. While goals and achievements have positive effects on those who look to better themselves, I believe it is more important to set your own hunting goals and purpose and not veer from your path. We simply do not have enough time to discourage ourselves by looking at those who have a different background or resources than we are blessed with. I ask those who are angry, jealous, or envious of other hunters who happen to have more privilege than you to let it go! Find your own joy this season in the great outdoors, set your own goals, introduce someone to hunting, and in turn, be the best Huntin’ Fool that YOU can be!