Let’s face it, everyone has been effected by the current economic “crisis” in one way or another.  But how have hunters been effected?  In the past, I have been the kind of guy who would go out and “restock” before each and every season.  Now, when I say each and every season, I mean EACH and EVERY season.  Dove, waterfowl, deer, turkey, squirrel.  It didn’t matter if I could use the same shot shells for dove and squirrels, or if the camo that I wore duck hunting the timber would be just as effective hunting deer on the mountain.  For some reason I always needed different gear for every season and critter.  As a result I ended up with a lot of “stuff” that I probably didn’t really need.  When I got married, not too long ago, my wife asked me a question that would put a lot of things in perspective, “What do you need all of that stuff for?”  Well, I tried to answer but simply couldn’t find a response that made sense to me, let alone a woman who has most definitely never set foot deep in the woods (well maybe when she was younger and crazier, and definitely not for the reason of hunting or being close to nature).  As a result, I took stock of what I had in my hunting closet (yes, she actually lets me have a WHOLE closet for my hunting stuff).

From that day forward, a lot of my gear hasn’t seen the light of day.  I came to realize that the things that I “had to have” weren’t really making me a better hunter.  So I simply didn’t take anything out to the woods that wouldn’t really help me, or I thought wouldn’t help me, in my goal of bagging whatever animal I was after.  The recent economic troubles our country is facing have made me take even a further look at what I’ve got.  Actually, it’s a little more than just what I’ve got, it’s how can what I have make someone else’s hunt better.  I had to ask myself whether there was anything in my closet that I didn’t use, that someone else possibly could.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make myself look like some sort of saint here.  I love my “stuff” and the last thing that I ever thought I’d find myself doing would be giving it away.  But that’s exactly what happened.  If I didn’t use it, or it didn’t have any kind of sentimental value it was out the door to the local outdoor store where they would find someone that could use it.

When I started going through my closet and cleaning out the things that I no longer used or needed I found that my closet was truly just a drawer.  Everything I needed and used would all fit neatly into a drawer.  The other thing that I found was that making due with the bare essentials makes one come up with new ways of doing things.  So instead of spending money on a new ground blind, that blown down pine tree became my new best friend.  Within a matter of about a hour there was a freshly built ground blind that looked more natural than anything you can buy in the store.  The scent elimination products that everyone seems to crave, once again that pine tree and a bunch of fresh acorns did the trick. The thing that is truly the most amazing part of it all is the level of gratification that you can get out of doing things this way and saving your money (which I’m sure our spouses appreciate as well).

And if you’re having a hard time getting through the process of taking stock and cleaning out, ask yourself this one simple question, “What did our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers all do without this stuff?”  They simply hunted. . . .and probably were a lot better at it.