Washington Backcountry and The Soulful Hunter Podcast know first hand how hunting has the power to transform lives through primal adventure. It is the driving force behind our mission and now it’s time to celebrate the success and share the stories. In this series you will get a first hand look into the lives that have been impacted by what hunting has to offer. It is something that is rarely shared or talked about and through the vulnerability of our guests, we hope that you find inspiration for your own transformation.
the Soulful Series | CHAPTER 2
Written by Christian Armstrong
There used to be a time where not so civilized rights of passage were expected of young men in their respective territories. Young boys during the western frontier were shoeing horses or splitting wood from sun up to sun down. The disconnect began when comfort became less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
I started hunting at the age of 12. I was born and raised in Oregon where hunting opportunity is plentiful. There are arguably more over the counter (OTC) hunting opportunities here than anywhere else in the country. I spent a gratuitous amount of time in the woods without a rifle in my hands before I really began to understand the importance of being there. Scouting trips gradually introduced me to desolate country and crowded juniper forests; giving me the confidence as I grew older to navigate the badlands in the high desert.
My grandfather, father and uncle hunted out of the same camp, in the same unit, for over 30 years. During my first few years attending, my father used fallen lodge poles that I helped him collect to frame out a shelter for the tents during late season when the frigid temps and the occasional torrential thunderstorms would hit. We leveled the landscape and cut trails, roads, and access points to navigate the chest high manzanita on those early morning treks out to our designated areas. Well before I ever held a rifle in my hands, I learned what it meant to provide. The strength of being a contributing factor to something bigger than myself. Here lies the substantial difference between now and then.
Where is the reward for lifting a finger when our hands are already full? How often is it, that as men of a modern day culture where we are chastised for conservative disciplines – we find ourselves being encouraged by others to connect and utilize our primitive capabilities? Social media is painted the leading culprit, which may be hard to argue, but is an excuse. Well before the technological advancements we have now, there were traditions and disciplines carried throughout generations that sustained because of passion and principle. At a young age I didn’t want to join my dad, brother, and elders in hunting camp because I thought it was going to be fun; I wanted to experience the bond and connection they spoke of ritualistically. I wanted to earn my keep in the family, and understand the value of commitment and perseverance. Hunting provided my life with what I wholeheartedly aspire to pass on to my own children.
The experience and rewards of harvesting some of the world’s greatest food sources and collecting memories is without hesitation one of the greatest aspects of being an outdoorsman. The close calls, the once in a lifetime presentations, the intimate connection with wildlife and mother nature, keeps us impatiently waiting for more. The primitive instinct inside all of us is a beast that deserves to be fed. We all deserve to learn and understand the value of being a provider. There is an undying need to spread the principalities of sportsmanship, in the wake of a softened modern day culture. Up and coming generations desperately need a positive outlet to discover and value the timeless heritage of hunting and fishing. Understanding the value of aching hands and shoulders from splitting wood. The self-reflection that is accompanied by less than desirable living conditions and unforeseen circumstances. Bonding with friends you only get to see annually when the collective effort to chase game becomes present. It is truly the greatest opportunity of self discovery and redemption, if you allow it.
To me, hunting is my core motivation to be more. I am a better employee, father, husband, son, brother, and an asset to my community because of hunting. It pushes me to be comfortable being uncomfortable. It allows me to feel how small I really am amidst the world around me. It forces me to think outside of my norm, and adapt to circumstances that I had not anticipated. Hunting is so much more than what it is portrayed to be by social media and modern day american culture. Place your treasures in the right place, and you will surely be rewarded.
Christian “Rev” Armstrong | Instagram – @rev.armstrong
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