This Is Not A Post About Anti-Hunters.

A lot of people in our industry have been weighing in on the anti-hunting movement, even when it doesn’t make much sense for them to. Are we stoking the fire with our well-intended parade of pro-hunting articles? Or are we raising awareness for a sad epidemic that has left many of us in an uncomfortable situation? 

Either way, it’s gaining momentum in mainstream media. And the anti-hunters won’t back down when they are getting exactly what they want. Attention. 

When I’m in the woods or sitting around a campfire, the last thing on my mind is drama. I go to the woods to get away from the busy world and the over saturated life that many people actually enjoy. I spend time in the woods because it’s where my soul is happiest. 

I love hunting. I won’t apologize for it. I love the the nature of it, the challenge of it, and the reward of taking an animal that I’ve worked for. I adore the smells of the countryside, cleaning my own animal after the kill, and the cold wind against my face. I love climbing mountains and knowing that the big deer live at the top, I love releasing an arrow into the perfect spot to take an animal down quickly, and most of all I love that this is a tradition that my great ancestors enjoyed also. They passed down this heritage for me to enjoy it, and I do.

I’ll never apologize for being a hunter. I’ll embrace it, I’ll defend it, and I won’t back down just because some guy on social media threatened to hurt me. That guy just needs a good kick in the pants and a 9 mile hike up the mountains to get his head straight. 

You could drink the water…

Male Landlocked Salmon on the fly, caught by Julie on the Atikonak River, Labrador.

I am always amazed at how much preparation goes into the trips that we take. Pre-planning, getting gear in order, cleaning cameras, weighing bags before we get to the airport, and finalizing production books and story lines… It’s all part of the job.

When this much work goes into taking a trip, it’s crucial to take a step back and remind ourselves to truly enjoy the time we have on location. Living in the moment isn’t easy when we’re trying to capture all of those moments on camera.

The last trip we took to film for the tv show was a lifelong dream of ours. I can actually say that about many of the travels we take, but this was was definitely near the top of our bucket list.

A place called Riverkeep Lodge sits out in the wilderness up north, so far out there that you would be unlikely to find it if you didn’t have a map and a notion to look for the bright red roofs of the lodge. The local bears wander through camp, the wild caribou swim the river and walk past the cabins, and your only way of getting in or out is by scheduled float plane.

What is it about being in the wild that ignites something in our souls? Our distant ancestors must have felt a similar feeling when they discovered a new animal or found a clean stream to drink from. It’s a survivalist notion. And I fell in love with the wild during my recent trip up north. The glacial water in the Atikonak river could have been consumed without treatment. It was pure. It was exactly what we think we are drinking from those plastic bottles. Only it was more pure than that.

I could go on for days about the raw beauty of the land, or the seemingly unlimited fish that fed on the hatch right in front of us. The sunsets, although they didn’t actually occur until around 11pm, were magnificent. The stars, coming out for only a couple hours each night, seemed brighter than any I had ever seen before. Maybe they seemed brighter because they were fleeting… We only had a short time to see them, so they were even more beautiful.

I loved being vulnerable out there. Knowing that if something were to happen to us, it would be nearly impossible to get help in a timely manner. I loved the family atmosphere and camaraderie. Coffee tasted better than I’ve ever known because it was boiled over a fire on a beach. That beach had caribou poop on it, and I think that made my day even better.

Could it be possible that nature seemed more beautiful to me at that place because fewer people have laid their eyes on it? When I stepped on a rock on the riverbank I constantly wondered if any other human had ever stepped on the same one.

Either way, enjoying the outdoors is different for everyone. I’m still amazed when I walk around and take notice of the small details that go into making such a big beautiful picture.

I would love to hear your stories about some of the most remote places you’ve ever been! It just might inspire me to go somewhere new…

 

Julie McQueen and Steve Murray