column By: Lee J. Hoots | July, 19
After 40 years of hunting throughout North America, a bit in southern Africa and a bit less in other far-flung localities plus nearly 30 years in the outdoor publishing business as a writer and editor, I still find the passion and/or dedication relayed as hunting yarns by fellow sportsmen to be enlightening. Perhaps this is due to realizing at an early age that people and places are far more relevant than a dead deer, elk or whatever.
Hunting is not only about a buck’s score. It’s about the experience. The shoulder mounts hanging on my office walls represent nothing if not people, places and time. Sure, giant antlers or horns are notable; few hunters can ignore an eye-popping rack. But antlers of trophy proportion obviously cannot write their own story.
Phillippe Freeman’s “Eleven Days” feature in this issue is a prime example as one of the best tales I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, because (without giving too much away) the author hunts with conviction but writes with a bit of emotion. The writer engages the reader as if the yarn is being spun around a campfire in some remote hunting camp.
As such, “Eleven Days” provides a sense of the author’s mindset while in the field. More importantly, Freeman shares his troubling thoughts with perfect timing.
None of this is to imply would-be writers should “spill their guts” in every paragraph, but a bit of the human condition goes a long way in making a story more interesting and inspiring. By the time you’re done reading it, it will seem as though you know the author on somewhat of a personal level. Freeman’s story takes readers along beside him, both upslope and downslope.