Adjustment- Steven Brutger
Hunting and fishing have been a constant in my life. But when I moved from Montana to Wyoming a few years back, it came with a sudden shift. With a move came new territory – the disruption of routines and familiar ground.
At first I lamented the change. Even calculated change can be painful. But I soon realized I needed to move on.
And so began my transition from one sportsman’s paradise to another.
I now look forward to the two days a year I hunt sage grouse. Why? Because sage grouse live in gorgeous country. Because sage grouse are in season. Because my dogs don’t care that sage grouse are slow or barely edible.
Or this summer’s adjustment. Drought had made the local trout streams too warm to fish. With nothing else to do I checked out a reservoir that most people don’t even notice as they speed past on the highway. It was full of carp. The challenge and eventual pull of the golden ghost satiated my need to fish during an otherwise smoke filled inferno of a summer.
Where I live being a specialist is limiting, but if you are willing to branch out you get rewarded in surprising ways.
My brother, on the other hand, has yet to adjust. Growing up my brother hunted and fished more than most. At the age of twelve he was on the Mathews pro-staff and had a bow engraved with the moniker “Lil Killer.” Now he lives in Princeton NJ and is pursuing a PhD in political science. On the phone he recently confessed that he was desperately missing the chance to hunt or fish.
All good brothers are full of advice, since moving back out West seems impractical for him I shared the Western version of therapeutic advice: I told him to suck it up and make the most of it.
As it turns out, he has a canal nearby that may potentially hold bass. And then there’s the ocean, which an acquaintance of his makes the trip regularly to fish for stripers. My guess is there are also some grouse woods in the area where he could give his golden retriever a chance to chase something other than tennis balls.
It’s been a hard realization to come to, but without unlimited time or an unlimited budget the life of a sportsmen tends to be driven by opportunity – not habit. Take advantage of what is available where you live.
We’ll see if my brother can make the adjustment. It’s a hard adjustment to make, but I’m guessing the new birthday fly rod on it’s way to New Jersey will help. Hopefully it will help ease the burden a bit.
-Steven lives in Lander WY with his wife, 2 children and 2 black labs. He is constantly torn between hunting big game, chasing birds, grabbing the 5 weight for trout, the 8 weight for carp, or daydreaming about some farfetched adventure.