It’s about more than bringing home a trophy…
That is a statement I never thought I’d say when I first got into hunting. When I first started out like any rookie hunter, I was not very selective when it came to clearly defining my “trophy” that season. My goal was always to get the biggest buck in the woods but lacked the patience to do so. If my buddies or dad got a big one, I was determined to get a bigger one. But on the other hand, I would often settle for something less so I didn’t burn a tag. Then as I got a little older, I’d be upset if I got a deer and my father didn’t. My father once told me he was just as much, if not more, excited that I got one than if he got one himself. I used to think he was CRAZY. He used to tell me it’s about the memory made, not necessarily the animal at the end of the trail. I’m proud to say after a recent hunting trip it finally clicked for me.
My father, girlfriend Katie, and I recently traveled to Florida to gator hunt with Greg Love and “Olde Florida Outdoors”. It finally clicked for me when my better half tagged out with a 9’6” stud, my father a feisty 8’, and I went home tag still in hand. It wasn’t for lack of effort or lack of opportunity, it just didn’t come together for me. I sat with Greg our first night in town and let him know I was more concerned about my girlfriend and father getting a gator than myself. Katie had never hunted before and my dad, well he’s earned it for putting up with me all these years. Greg understood it and appreciated what I was trying to do. One thing about Greg I can’t say enough is he is a man of faith, family, the outdoors, and integrity. In a lot of ways his wisdom and southern views rubbed off on me in our short time together.
For me, seeing Katie get the adrenaline shakes after tagging out her big bull gator and my dad hooking into his gator on his second cast after it ate the bait was priceless. Seeing both of them smile and take it all in meant more to me than any trophy I could put on the wall. I found myself chuckling on the plane ride home because I never thought I’d think the way my dad did. I remembered those many, many words of wisdom my father told me as a kid growing up and it all finally came together. I didn’t get it and maybe it’s because I’m getting older but now it all makes sense. Going into this Fall hunting season in Indiana, I have all my tags purchased and am okay if I don’t use them. I will hunt hard and will put my time in, I can promise you that. I do promise to all of you reading this that I will take a moment to stop, slow down, and take it all in. It really is about more than bringing home a trophy, it’s about those memories you make along the way.
Kyle Yelton - DHS TEAM