How Hunting Makes Us Wild
‘Wild’ is honestly one of my favorite adjectives. I’ve found myself using the word ‘wild’ often in conversation with friends and family and with my podcasts guests on Strangers Worth Meeting. I’ve probably been using it even more since we selected it as the basis of our Wild Hixsons brand. Hard to say, chicken or the egg type of thing. But the reason we picked Wild to be at the core of our brand wasn’t just because of my regular use of it, it was because we honestly felt like it embodied so many of the things we do and the things we knew we wanted to do at the time.
Starting our own business was Wild. Ditching our normalish lifestyle and traveling the world in an RV full-time was absolutely Wild. Our travels from one end of the country, literally in one trip sometimes, is often Wild. The way we cook all of our own food and pursue health as #1 is Wild. The way we voluntarily take physical abuse and violence AKA training jiu-jitsu is certainly Wild. Is that about enough examples? But there was one objective we didn’t even consider when we picked our name, and that was hunting. And it’s phenomenal how deeply hunting has come to embody that term ‘Wild’ for both Andrea and me.
With the release of Andrea’s new documentary series Wild Hixsons: On the Hunt about our first ever bowhunt in Wisconsin, it seemed like a good time to write up a blog about our experience.
I think we can mostly skip all the obvious reasons why hunting is a Wild undertaking. It’s the oldest, most natural way for humans to nourish ourselves: you’re out in nature, man vs wild, in often terrible weather conditions, with a razor’s edge between starvation or success. Sure, that stuff is fun to think about, but since I can only really speak to our own experience with hunting so far, which is minimal, I opted to write this blog instead about how WE have become more Wild in the undertaking of hunting wild game.
1. Hunting is Hard
In case you haven’t been hunting before, as we hadn’t before this trip, trust us when we say it’s hard. There are degrees of difficulty in this area – from a strolling squirrel hunt to a long-trekking elk bowhunt – we picked something in the midrange with our bowhunt of whitetail bucks in Wisconsin. We’ve got all the modern tech and conveniences of compound bows, super warm clothes, the ability to go back to our comfy RV when we’re done hunting, which means that this type of hunting isn’t nearly as hard as our ancestors faced. Yet, it’s still CRAZY hard!
We had some days of quite cold temperatures, we were running on really low sleep since we had hunted every single morning and evening for 3 straight weeks, and we were still working running our business during the day and sometimes at night. Add to that list all of the training you’ve got to do in preparation for a bowhunt, the fact that neither Andrea nor I came from hunting families and had to learn everything ourselves (thanks very much to MeatEater on that one), and the reality that the animals don’t exactly feel like cooperating on your hunt, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for hardship.
But as we’ve discussed before, the greater the hardship, the more beautiful the personal evolution. We both grew immensely leading up to and during our bowhunting trip, and those things will stay with us long past that experience, as will all of our future hunts that we have in mind. And that is the part that was WILD for us. We recommend doing hard things to become more Wild yourself.
2. Hunting is Fuel
The reason we decided to engage with hunting in the first place was because we had a drive to secure some of the healthiest and most honest food in the world. Health and cooking – really the same thing in our book – have been a major focus of the Wild Hixsons for years now. We cook most of our food from scratch, we love baking sourdough bread, and we more recently became educated about a meat-based or carnivore diet. And after working our way up the chain of buying quality meat like finding grass-fed, then pasture-raised, then locally farmed, then regeneratively farmed blended with organ meat, which is our current go-to, it was only logical that we would eventually end up seeking out the best meat of all: Wild game that has eaten Wild plants its whole life.
We wanted not just to remove the middle-man, we wanted to shatter the concept by getting our meat straight from the source and filling our freezer with meat that we had taken full responsibility for harvesting. You’ll see in the documentary that it didn’t turn out perfectly for us this time around, but it’s started what I believe will be a lifelong obsession with seeking the Wildest food possible. We recommend eating Wild things to become more Wild yourself.
3. Hunting is Real
It’s hard to find an example of any other thing that comes with the real consequences that hunting demands, and that is pretty Wild to us. No, hunting for us isn’t a life or death struggle against starvation, but it still maintains its consequences. We have a limited window to wrestle with the challenge of getting close enough to a Wild animal to take a shot that has the consequence of actual life and death and can be changed by one small gust of wind, one millimeter of aim on your bow sight, one millisecond of time before that animal moves or reacts to the sound of your bow. Talk about real consequences.
If you’re successful, that animal will die and feed you for a long time. If you’re unsuccessful (which can happen in a number of ways), you may have needless death or an empty stomach, or an unbalanced ecosystem. It’s a little intense for those of us that didn’t grow up doing it, and Andrea and I went through the struggle to become more Wild. We recommend engaging in real things to become more Wild yourself.
There’s only one word I’d use to describe our hunting trip: Wild. Luckily, we anticipated even before we ever considered hunting that our inspiration for living always takes the form of Wild things, and eventually, we always find our way to becoming more and more Wild.
Tyler & Andrea
We are full-time adventure seekers taking on the world in our East to West RV! We have seen so much personal growth during our first year of nomad life that we wanted a way to capture all of those moments and share them with you! Our goal is to inspire everyone to chase after their dreams and always seek adventure in whatever they do.
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