Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.
Friends can be hard to come by these days.
Maintaining friendships isn’t easy, especially for adults and it’s even more difficult for men. Guys as a whole need to have some commonality to their friendships. A shared interest, a bond, something to connect over. Many guys find those connections through fandom of certain sports or following a particular team. Maybe it’s a close knit golf foursome or maybe your bowling buddies after work. Regardless, in most men’s friendships, you’ll find that they’re based on connections.
It’s no surprise that most of my friendships revolve around hunting and – in particular – traditional bowhunting.
In the big scheme of things in the hunting world, traditional archers make up little more than a drop in the bucket. Indeed, there’s only a handful of us around this area and I count a few of them as some of my closest friends. I’m not necessarily the kind of guy that needs or wants a large circle of friends, but I do enjoy the camaraderie that comes with shooting bows and sharing a passion for the outdoors.
This past weekend, I made a long 10 hour drive to Kansas City, Missouri to attend a board meeting for the Compton Traditional Bowhunters. Compton is an all traditional archery hunting organization that promotes and preserves bowhunting with traditional archery equipment. It’s a national organization with members from all over the country, Canada, and Europe. Our board members hail from Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana and Ohio. In years past, the board was made up of the “who’s who” of the traditional bowhunting world. Now, it’s just a bunch of regular guys such as myself.
But, over the past several years, those regular guys have became great friends. We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know each other and our families. We’ve shared hunts and spent time around a hissing campfire breaking bread, tossing back a few cold ones and telling stories, some true, some embellished as the evenings wore on. We’ve connected on that deeper level that real friendships are built on. The type of friendships that allow you to disagree, bicker and debate. The kind of connection built on laughter, genuine interest and respect. The kind of lifelong friendships that share a common goal.
I’ve been blessed to be a member of this organization and even more so in serving on the board of directors. It’s opened doors to me that would have remained closed had I not taken a chance and stepped forward to serve. I’ve met people whom I’d always respected and admired and now consider them as friends, beyond acquaintances. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to travel around the country and meet fellow traditional bowhunters and to spread the word about my passion. Some of my best friends live several hundred miles away, but we’re connected far beyond just social media.
My point with this edition of Along the Trail isn’t to convince any of my readers to run out and join the Compton Traditional Bowhunters. My point is to find what your own passion is. Grab it, run with it and don’t let it go. Then find some other like minded folks and connect with them. Get to know them, build that relationship. Make friends! Whatever that shared interest is, whatever your passion, you’ll find that your life will be better with those friends in it.
Life’s too short to spend without friendship and living in boredom.
– David Hewitt