Manifest Destiny & The Western Hunter

By Johnny Mack

There is little else that calls to a man’s soul like setting off into the wilderness in search of ultimate fulfillment. In fact, America was built upon the idea that there was a better life in store out west and that manifest destiny was calling. The same ideals ring true today as generations of hunters set off to the wild places of the west in search of fulfilling the call of the wild.

To this day, America has reached its borders from sea to shining sea, but it has not lost its majestic call upon man’s soul. There is something mystical of the west. Something that tests a man’s grit, courage and determination. Something that is not an ego contest, rather a fulfillment to the relentless poke at the hearts and minds of American’s that know there is a better life waiting for them. One that is filled with adventure and excitement. One that creates a story worthy of an audience to be told around campfires long after the thrill of the hunt has ended. That the adventure of the west is not lost on some old black and white country western movie. Instead it lives on but in a different way.

Even before I was a hunter, there was something magical about the mountains. A voice that whispered in the winds and followed me home. Trailing me all the way until the precipice of my mind drifting into a deep oblivion and it was even there waiting for me when sun shined and my heavy eyes opened to see it’s glory.

To this day, I’m left awe struck every time the clouds roll away and the blue sky is crystal clear with the wonder and glory of the mountains in sight. It stops me in my tracks and screams at me to share it’s magnificence with whomever I can. Just as a kid who spots their first animal or when the girl you’ve had your eye on locks eyes with you and smiles back at you, it’s a “Hey, did you see that!” kind of moment as you thrust your elbow into your buddies side. This is just the tip of emotions that roll over you like a flood when you are out west and see the snow capped mountains with your own eyes for the first time. A moment that is meant to be cherished, remembered and in my preference, shared with others so they too have an opportunity of a hallmark moment in their life.

Hunting the mountains is not just a hobby or sport as some might say. It is a passion. An art form. A way of living inspired by the old crusty mountain men that forged their way through the wild and untamed west. For those of you who have ever questioned the transformative power that hunting brings, my answer to you is simple and is prefaced with a question of my own. Have you ever fulfilled the call upon your soul by journeying into the unknown of an adventure with the belief that there is a better life ahead? If your answer is yes, then congratulations and don’t ever stop. Continue to set goals and search for more ways to always challenge and improve yourself. If your answer is a resounding no, my follow up is why? What are you waiting for? It is engrained within our DNA to set off in search of something greater than ourselves. The unsettled feeling that eats away at you and your soul every time you clock in and out at your boring mundane 9 to 5. There is inspiration to be found and it starts by taking the first step. Having the courage to experience something new and getting into uncomfortable situations is the pinnacle of growth in a human’s soul. The moment we stop being uncomfortable is the moment we turn the corner, grow old and everything becomes an memory of a time long ago. Either you are going to be someone who is “green and growing or you will become ripe and rotting” as there is no fence sitting in this life.

Just as I found myself in the mountains, you too can find your inspiration as well. Don’t let another moment or hunting season slip by without acknowledging the call upon your own soul. Before you know it, you will be an old white haired elder talking about the good ole’ days and how you wish you would have used your youth more wisely and challenged yourself to grow and get out of your comfort zone. There is no risk without reward and if we set our mind to it, envision it, speak it and believe it, anything is possible.

President Theodore Roosevelt famously said “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Just like President Theodore Roosevelt spoke of the man in the arena, it’s time to ask yourself if you are going to answer the call? What is going to be the grand adventure and summation of your story? What destiny are your going to manifest for yourself? What stories are you going to tell your grandchildren? Hunting has the power to transform lives through primal adventure. That adventure is waiting for you. Are you going to answer it? For me, the mountains are still calling with stories waiting to be told.

-The Soulful Hunter-


The Author blowing an elk bugle during the September rut.

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