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Growing up in an outdoor family and being exposed to a wide variety of hunting and fishing related activities, I found along the way that my true loves in the outdoors are bow hunting for deer and trout fishing. Perhaps it has something to do with observing nature at it's own pace in the woods and streams, the quietness of both pursuits, and maybe that deer woods and trout streams go hand in hand.

Many a time I've said to myself "that would be great if there were trout in there" when passing a small woodland stream en route to a deer stand, or when just simply walking through the woods scouting. Many a time while fishing a trout stream in the spring I find myself looking at buck rubs from the fall before, deer trails cutting up the banks, or noticing a wild apple tree that might make a good stand site. It seems I can't do one without thinking about the other.

During the decade of the 1990's my passion for both consumed a good portion of my free time and along with that came a fair amount of success. My bow hunting had evolved from just trying to get a deer to trying to keep the "buck streak" alive. At the same time I went from being a bait fisherman for trout to using strictly spinners and fishing well past opening day. It wasn't unusual for me to spend a whole Saturday or a free day doing one or the other when in season.

Along the line though, life begins to get in the way with work, relationships, and just "growing up" in general. Free time goes from being a whole weekend, to a day here and there, or a few hours a week. I still hunted when I could, but found a rifle in my hands more and more instead of a bow. I can remember during those years when late October and early November rolled around, looking out at a distant woodlot and just feeling this burning in my soul to be out there with a bow in my hand. For some reason, which to this day I still can't explain, trout fishing went on the back burner entirely. My last year of trout fishing I landed five fish over twenty inches and after that I pretty much removed myself from the sport.

A bit more free time began to open up eventually and I got out more with the bow and even managed to get a few deer. As time went by and weekends opened up again I felt like I was back. I think to this day it makes me appreciate being out there even more. It seems I talk about "taking it all in" a lot and believe me I do, for who knows what life holds down the road. Even with this, somehow something was still missing, and to be honest I wasn't quite sure what it was. Ten years is a long time to be away from something and as incredible as it may seem, it never once occurred to me that my once beloved trout fishing was the missing piece.

It was the winter of 2009 and I was browsing this site and for some reason, a title of a thread in the trout forum caught my eye. I'd never really paid much attention to this part of the site, and to be honest I can't even remember what that thread was about. As I began looking at pictures and reading posts, the fact that I used to love this stuff hit me like a ton of bricks. It was literally a "DUH!" moment. Within a week I had my license complete with trout stamp.

My very first outing that spring was to a year round trout water that gets stocked once a year. It had been nearly a year since a trout had been dumped into this stream, but there I was casting a gold Thomas spinner into the cold waters. Mostly I figured I was just going to be going through the motions and it definitely seemed as if it was going to be that way. Then I hooked into a good fish on one retrieve and to my total disbelief it was a golden rainbow that went around twenty inches. I got it to my feet and got my camera out to get a snapshot when it gave a thrash and snapped my line.

I truly believe I could go there at that same time every spring for the rest of my life and never do the same thing again. Was it a sign? If you believe in those things, maybe. At the time I didn't think of it that way. All I knew is that it lit the fire in me to get back to doing what I love. Looking at it now, I think that yes, it may have in fact been a sign. A sign to live life to the fullest while you can and enjoy it with the people you love, in the places you love, doing the things that you love. After an incredible year of fishing it felt like the journey home was complete.

It may seem like this has been all about the fishing aspect, but to be fair, the hunting aspect never fully went away. To me, one without the other just doesn't seem right. After all, deer woods and trout streams go hand in hand.

 

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Absolutley great post Eye


Its funny how we come full circle as time passes. I too, lived for the woods and water from an early age right up till the kids came along. The desire was still there but priorities made it take a backseat for a few years. I still got out in the woods and on the water but not nearly as much as I'd once done. Now as my kids grow older it's like a whole new learning experience all over. I get to see the excitement and jubilation through their eyes and it truly trumps anything I have ever experienced in the field. The look of astonishment when my little girl landed a 20" Largemouth or when my 6 year old heard his first turkey sound off as darkness turned to light are priceless. Every "new" experience rekindles the fire and ensures that that fire will burn bright long after my days afield are over!!


Once again, FANTASTIC post!!!
 

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Good post. I think that very same thing happens to a lot of us. While I never stopped going for anything (except turkey) the outings got further and further apart. They also went from all day to half days for the most part. That came at a time when I had two very small girls. It didn't help that I was working 50+ hours a week too.

Even if I could have gone it wouldn't have been a wise choice. I don't think I have to elaborate on that. Now my girls are getting a little older to the point wifey doesn't get PO'd when I bail out for the day.

One thing I have learned for absolute certainty is that you have to make time for yourself. Even if it's just a couple hours on a Saturday afternoon to make a few casts or sit on stand. To me it's the only time when all of lifes issues go completely away. I don't worry or think about anything other than what I am pursuing.

I think that if I had to go over a week or two without any "my time" I would go mad.
 

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I used to love hunting squirrels with a rifle when I
was a kid, but just as you stated, job, life, etc
get in the way. I am planning my next vacation on
hunting squirrels this October, sound kind of
silly, but...
 

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Jericho said:
I used to love hunting squirrels with a rifle when I
was a kid, but just as you stated, job, life, etc
get in the way. I am planning my next vacation on
hunting squirrels this October, sound kind of
silly, but...
Not really. I always schedules my vacations around hunting and fishing. Most times it was when others didn't want time off. Can you imagine how hard it is to get the first week of deer season off when almost everyone in the department hunts deer? I just took the first week of November since I was of the only one that put much effort into archery hunting. Plus it was the beginning of our slow time at work. I was the only one that wanted off.

Lastly, everybody has something that makes them tick. If it's chasin squirrels.. good for you. Have fun. I'm sure you will. There sure isn't any shortage of them.
 
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