The love of the chase is deeply imbedded in man’s nature. During the untold centuries of his savage condition he followed it out of necessity. We now revert to our primitive employment for our pleasure and recreation, pursuing with ardor, sports which often involve much bodily fatigue and always require skill and training. An impulse, often irresistible it seems, leads a man away from civilization, from its artificial pleasures and its mechanical life, to the forests, the fields and the waters, where he may have that freedom and peace which civilization denies him. If this not be so, then why is it that the man of affairs as well as the man of leisure feels again the joy of his youth as he bids farewell to his office or to his club, and seeks the solitudes of the woods and the plains? He will meet there some old familiar face in a guide, or fellow-sportsman, and welcome it with the ardor of good fellowship. He will undergo all sorts of bodily discomforts, -coarse food and rough bed, the wet and the cold,- and yet be happy, because for a little spell he is free; in other words, he has, for the time, become a civilized savage. If, with gun and rod, he goes into the recesses of the great woods, and lives there for weeks or months, or mounts his horse and traverses the western plains and mountain passes, relying on his rifle for his subsistence, he is made to realize that there are many things to be learned outside of cities and away from his usual occupations. He will find food for philosophy in the behavior of his hunting companions; he will see who is manly and unselfish, who endowed with pluck and self-reliance; for three weeks’ association with a friend in the wilderness will reveal more of his real character than a dozen years’ with him amid the safe retreats and soothing comforts of civilized life. He will learn how few are the real wants of a happy life in the midst of uncivilized nature. His troubles, if he carried any with him, will vanish; time will seem of as little value to him as to the savage, and like all true sportsmen and honest anglers, he will return to his home with a calmed spirit and a contented mind.
Sport with Gun and Rod
Alfred M. Mayer