No Guarantees

In 2017, Super Bowl 51 was the most watched television program in U.S. history (111.5 million). The Las Vegas book makers had every bet angle covered you could imagine. The experts, analysts, and prognosticators had everything dissected down to which players had a hangnail. Yet with all the hype and build-up, no one could predict who would win. When the final whistle blew and the New England Patriots had completed their unbelievable comeback, the resounding response from the experts was, “that’s why you play the game.”

Those things where the outcome is uncertain are the things that stand the test of time because they hold our interest. It’s human nature to be drawn to such things and keep coming back. Why? Because when the outcome is already known things are less interesting. There are exceptions of course, like the stock market, or what the winning Powerball numbers will be.

There is uncertainty to hunting. For those of us who hunt, it is the “no guarantees” nature of hunting that is one of its most appealing attributes. Another nature of hunting is that we spend more time thinking about going hunting and preparing to go hunting than actually hunting. We’ve all done it. Run scenarios over in our minds; “Will I see a buck? Will I see a big buck? Will I get a good shot? Will I be successful? What will the scene be like back at camp or at home when I return with my prize—or my story?”

Whether we think about it much or even admit it, not knowing the outcome is an important part of the hunting tradition; that which keeps us engaged and coming back also fosters a respect for the capabilities of the game we purse, which forces us to develop skills. “No guarantees” is yet another thing that is at the core of a hunting ethic. Taking the easy route or shortcuts might be considered by some to be just stacking the odds in your favor, but success at any price does come with a cost.

We covet what we’ve earned honestly, fair and square. If we lose the no-guarantees nature of hunting, something very special will be lost. At a minimum, if hunting were a sure thing, it would be hard to still call it hunting.