Article Contributed by Field Staff Writer J. Lee.
When it comes to the five stages of a sportsman I believe I’m in a hybrid of the trophy and sportsmen stage, and honestly I hope I never leave this “troph-smen” stage. I believe that these five stages apply to spear-fishermen as well, where I find myself in the same hybrid stage. With the opportunity to hunt or to spearfish in Hawaii, a 365 day a year option, you find yourself moving through the stages rather quickly.
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There aren’t too many places where you can find yourself with shooting opportunities as often as you can here in the 50th state. With so many opportunities to fill your freezer, you quickly find yourself either; looking for the biggest of your target species, happy going home with an empty meat bag, being stoked with a the perfect one for the dinner table, or pay for a bigger freezer. With the cost of electricity in Hawaii being so high, you find yourself avoiding the latter option. However, having the amount of choices in big game to hunt year round I believe hunters in Hawaii can fall in different stages depending on the game in which they’re hunting. Same fate falls on the spear-fishermen where the ocean can be a target rich environment. Growing up in such a unique sportsmen arena I believe that’s why I find myself in such a hybrid stage.
However, I fall into the Sportsmen stage also because I get just as much joy as just being out there and enjoying the outdoors with my friends and family as I do when I come home with a trophy. While spearfishing I catch myself a lot of times just floating and observing the fish and ocean life around me. Some of my more memorable experiences in the ocean with speargun in tow are actually when I didn’t shoot anything, but was just a spectator in the world’s largest aquarium. In the woods its quite the same for me. I find myself laying under big trees and trying to slow my breathing down so to be as quiet as possible, and truly listen to the what the forest has to say. I also find myself hiking to the best lookout to watch and enjoy the sunrise before looking for animals to pursue. Adding family and friends into these experiences, that is what I love. I love the laughs and bonding time that is spent with camo on my back or snorkel in my mouth more than most anything. Sitting on the tailgate at the end of a long dive or a long hunt and having a cold beverage with your partner for that day and “talking story” about what we saw in the water or in the woods, makes my heart smile. Reliving the day’s adventure and talking about past ones while still salty or sweaty, those are the times that are most important to me. I’m perfectly fine with going home with an empty cooler, because my soul is fed best after a day spent outside enjoying nature, at her best