Another hunting draws near and with it hot coffee, a ready truck, and the long wait for sunrise. Those of us longtime hunters have learned a lesson or two from the blind and tree stand. Here are seven we thought of this morning.

Hunting is a lesson in patience.

Of the many things for which to be grateful as a hunter, none come instantly; hunting is a lesson in endurance. Hunters miss more than they hit. They aim more than they fire. They spend more hours and money than they will ever get back. But instant gratification is not why people hunt; they hunt because the long haul is worth it. They hunt because no time spent outside during the quiet of the day is ever wasted.

Hunting is a lesson in human nature.

If Mother Nature has taught us anything, it is that things can be at odds and still in balance. The subject of hunting can bring out a wide range of opinions, even among those who support it, and we humans are a passionate species. At the end of the day, the sun sets on a group of people who agree that our natural habitats should be protected and preserved. And we do what we can.

Hunting is a lesson in stewardship.

Hunters are foremost conservationists and environmentalists. We personally witness the environment in its natural glory in a way few can and do, and the $1.1 billion we contribute to state wildlife agencies proves we are an important part of its survival. Hunters pay for the bulk of wildlife conservation across the country through the Pittman-Robertson Act, funding state and federal studies on disease monitoring, wildlife preservation, conservation research, and environmental stewardship.

Hunting is a lesson in balance.

By planting food plots and hunting responsibly, we aim to place the natural environment, and the deer populations within it, on an even playing ground with the urban sprawl that threatens its borders. On an individual level, hunting provides a peaceful sanctuary sorely missing in today’s rushed, commercial landscape; nature moves at its own pace, a reprieve many hunters happily take in stride.

Hunting is a lesson in contribution.

Today, more than 12.5 million people over the age of 16 hunt annually. That mere 7% of our population spends about $2000 each year on hunting licenses, tags, equipment, and hunting trips, contributing to $22.9 billion in economic impact, which comes as a sweet relief to owners of the gas stations, motels, and small businesses in rural areas who couldn’t put food on their families tables without the seasonal offset. “Hunters Welcome” indeed.

Hunting is a lesson in respect.

Ask any hunter to tell their favorite hunting story, and you’ll get a least five. Contrary to opponents and those who have yet to meet a hunter, these stories aren’t about guns, bullets, and blood. More often than not, they start with peaceful mornings, build with the thrill of the chase, and end with the one that got away. Hunting is a thoughtful sport, and one that comes with a healthy respect for the land, the gun, and the animal; it’s why we have dedicated seasons, why we have tag limits based on current populations, and why more than one hunter has given up a shot at a prize buck.

Hunting is a lesson in tradition.

Every hunter remembers their first hunting trip, riding between adults in a truck laden with water, supplies, camouflage, and hope. The empowerment that comes with responsibility, the grit of handed-down knowledge, the uninterrupted time with loved ones, the learned skill and its resultant pride may not always be genetic, but it is contagious and can filter into other aspects of life. And that is a tradition every hunter is happy to continue with the next generation.

Hunting is a lesson of lessons, and they have very little to do with what you carry with you and what you may or may not bring home. That’s what makes it such an important pastime, and one we are happy to share and support.

Have a safe and successful hunting season from all of us at Ragan and Massey. See how PlotSpike can make your hunting season more successful.