The human mind has a great capacity for memory but the history of your hunt is a commodity that will diminish with time. The best way to hold onto that memory is to preserve the record of your hunt now, so it can live long into the future.
At every big sporting event, there always seems to be a team of folks who are there to preserve the artifacts from the event for perpetuity. The baseball caught in the final out of the World Series?
While the cameras focused on the mobbing teammates, an archivist made sure to grab that ball. The golf ball to win the Master’s? While the winner fist pumped to an adoring crowd, the archivist quietly removed the ball for display to honor the accomplishment.
Pull the trigger on that special deer this year and what are you going to preserve? How about the brass casing from your rifle or the shotgun shell left behind? Artifacts like that really enhance a mount or framed photograph of the event.
Many archers like to “retire” the arrow from a trophy kill and put it on display with the antlers or photograph.
Keep your hunting license as well as documentation of the date and perhaps snap a photograph of the woods shortly after the kill to preserve the conditions better than your memory can.
Those of us who have smart phones with us in the field really have the opportunity to document the moment for perpetuity. Snap photos in the field but also consider audio or video recording the immediate reaction. Jot down a few sentences if you’d rather on a piece of paper, or type it in your phone but then print it. You might not think much of it now, but put that print out in the frame behind your trophy photo and 10 years from now you’ll be amazed at how much you treasure that hurried note you jotted.
Even when a trophy is not bagged, take plenty of photos of you and your hunting companions together. Life is short and there’s no guarantee of that group photo looking the same next year. If you are lucky enough to hunt decades together, you have a great flipchart of photos over the years.
Brain research studies of our memory reveal that we don’t often remember things very accurately. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but the details of the moment are easy to forget years later and often those are some of the most interesting parts of the story.
A great way to hold these various images and artifacts is a shadowbox. Another way to preserve it all is by making a photo slideshow or video clip montage. There are tons of apps out there to help you do this and if it’s not your cup of tea, hand off your smartphone or computer to the youngest members of the hunting camp and watch how quickly they turn your hunt into a documentary.
Author Anais Nin once said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospect.” What I would say is that nostalgia is a beast we must feed today if we are to more fully enjoy it in the future, when we truly value it.
Often we don’t know when something special is happening because it feels ordinary. When we look back on it, and wonder where the time went, we realize that yesterday’s ordinary is tomorrow’s extraordinary.