Top 10 Ways to Support your Hunter
Having a hunter in your life comes with many positives, but it also has it's challenges, especially if you are new to the whole gig. It's been my personal experience thus far, that as time goes on in your relationship or marriage, some of these ideas can shift and change. For example, in the beginning of my relationship with Mr. Wonderful, I had a very hard time being left alone during hunting season. I felt abandoned, and honestly resented the time I was left home alone to manage the house, kids and meals with no help. Fast forward to today, and it really doesn't bother me like it did before.
I have learned many things in the last several years that have shifted the way I think and respond during this particular time of the year. I have come to learn that hunting is important to my husband, and he loves it, so why not learn how to support him in the best ways that I can? My understanding of what hunting means to him, has helped our relationship in many ways and taught us both how to work together and make compromises, and thank god for that. It was really rough for me for a while, but learning to not sweat the small stuff, and try to be helpful and supportive, ended up working out really well. The more value I seemed to place in his hobby, the easier he was to get along with and the more willing he was to compromise when I really wanted or needed him home.
Here are my personal top 10 ways to support your hunter. These are things that I personally have done, or think would be great ways to help support your husband during hunting season so he's not a complete jerk, and you don't lose your mind.
Top 10 Ways to Support your Hunter
1) Come up with a plan for hunting season - I can not stress this one enough. This has been the top, most helpful thing Mr. Wonderful and I have done. Make a calendar, be clear on dates of hunting seasons and trips, and which ones he intends to participate in. This can help both parties get an idea of what the future looks like. He can go hunting guilt free, and you can plan how to use that time with him gone ahead of time. Communication is key and is one of the biggest and easiest ways to navigate hunting season. If you are parents, there are many fall and spring programs, sports events, and holiday festivals/parties that may be happening. Deciding ahead of time if these are things you can do alone, or that he needs to be present for, can help ease stress and resentment for both of you. Making a calendar will help both him and you plan around hunting, so there are no surprises and nothing missed that should have been attended as well as any false expectations. I will offer a word of caution however, not all hunting trips can be decided in advance and there will be times where you will have to be flexible. Weather can dictate change, so although the idea of planning ahead with a calendar is still a great idea, just remember that it may not always be set in stone. Pro tip - Schedule a date night or two in there somewhere to help you stay connected and close.
2) Agree with reasonable shopping expenses - If your man/husband is a hunter, then you know come hunting season, he will be out in a blind or in a tree. Hunting can be an expensive hobby, and does not always yield a huge return, but investing in his hobby is important, not just to him, but your relationship. Making sure he has what he needs, will ultimately enhance his chances at success. I know this sounds a little silly, but it's true. Planning ahead of time, before hunting season can eliminate a financial and emotional burden. One of the top arguments in relationships, is in fact over finances. Suggesting that you set aside a "hunting fund" could help tremendously. Perhaps encourage your man put together a wish list or shopping list, this could also be helpful with planning, and even holiday shopping. Many can not make multiple purchases or upgrade everything every season, but upgrading one item at a time will make him feel that he is ready for the task at hand and that he is valued without completely breaking the bank. He needs to be warm and safe. Purchasing upgraded gear in the off season may save you a few bucks. Search for sales and promo codes. Communicating about the expenses of hunting ahead of time can help later on down the road and you may be able to avoid arguments about finances. Tip - Some expenses may be for you as well. There are many ways you can get a few items on the hunting wish list that will help everyone out. Do you have meat grinder? Need a really good set of Kitchen knives? What about a food sealer or dehydrator? All of these items can prove very helpful in the post processing of his kills.
3) Cook what he kills - This brings us to a very important part of supporting your hunter. If your man hunts not just for sport, but for food, and brings it home, do not waste it. Help him package and store it properly. Find out what cuts or meat are what, and learn how to cook them into amazing meals. This helps support him in so many ways, and will make him feel like a complete bad ass. The internet can help educate yourself on how to prepare and cook wild game. Tip - I will be adding more recipes to the forum, and encourage you to share your favorites as well.
4) Learn to listen to him vent about his frustrations - Not all hunting seasons go as planned. There are a million things that can go wrong or interfere with hunting that can really add to the frustration and disappointment of your hunter. So much of hunting is not in preparation, the right gear, or a fancy new bow. It's wind, cold fronts, heat, crop rotations, location, other animals that interfere. Even when everything is right with the weather and wind, he can sit in a tree and not have one single deer get close enough to make a kill. He can call that turkey, and watch it never come close enough. Remember, he is spending hours, days, sometimes weeks hunting. He doesn't want it to all be for nothing. He doesn't want it to be a waste of his time. Learning to listen to your hunter vent about his bad hunt does and will help him. I often find myself with not a whole lot to offer in the end with Mr. Wonderful, but I definitely can say that "I am sorry it didn't go the way he wanted":, and that "I hope he has better luck next time". Knowing that you support him does make all the difference, and it makes the disappointment a little easier to tolerate.... at least thats what my husband tells me.
5) Go with him if you can - I personally have not participated in hunting with my husband, but I think this is a great idea. I have thought of it many times, but for me right now, I prefer to be at home with the kids. If you don't have any kiddos at home, have someone to stay with them, or they are old enough to be on their own, I think it is a great idea. I can't think of a better way to support your man, then joining in with him. I think if you can, you should totally try it.
6) Make a place for all his crap - Let's face it, all that gear takes up space, and just like any hobby, he needs a place thats just for his hunting gear. Depending on the type of hunting your man is into, this could mean the difference between a corner in a basement, a garage, or a straight up man shack. Storing his clothing in a "scentless environment" may be high on his priority list. Duck decoys, blinds, tree stands, guns, bows and arrows, and all the little things that go along, all need a home. One of the best things you can do to support your hunter is to carve out a space for him and help him organize if needed. Also keep in mind that in addition to space to store everything he needs for hunting, you may also need to make some room somewhere for some heads on the wall.
7) Wash his stinky stuff - Another way you can support your hunter is by helping him take care of his gear and washing items to help him stay at the top of his game. Just make sure, for the love of god, that you always use a scent free detergent, no fabric softener or air dry. Check labels and washing instructions. Your hunter will be thrilled when it comes time to get ready, and he has clean scentless gear to climb into.
8) Brew coffee, make snacks - Look, I know your hunter is a grown man, but lets face it, often the women who manage a household are also the ones doing the grocery shopping. Make the time to ask your hunter what you can get him for those hunting mornings or evenings to keep him from waking the forest with his growling stomach. Snacks are important. Set the timer the night before and load up the coffee maker for an early morning brew. Set out a thermos, and pack him up some goodies. This is probably one of my husbands favorite things that I do for him that he loves. Granted, he can totally do it himself, and I am not a fan of being up at 4-5 am, but sometimes I do this because it means I get to see him in the morning and wish him good luck. Being present in this way, is a great way to support your hunter.
9) Stock him up on the stuff he needs- This is a little different than number 2) on this list because often these are not things that are a great expense. Depending on the time of the year or location, some things may become yearly necessities for his comfort and safety. Being aware of what these things are can help both of you, and make him feel like you understand and care. Keeping your man stocked up on Thermacell, Hot Hands, and Dude Wipes might be extremely helpful and appreciated. Make sure he is stocked on scent killing shampoo and laundry soap, scent free deodorant and scent killer spray. Even if you know little about hunting, or why they love it so much, you can help him feel like you "get it", by making sure he has what he needs.
10) Understand the importance - Talk to your dude, and maybe he can explain to you why hunting means so much to him. For me personally, talking to my husband and finding out why he "needed" to be hunting so much, really helped me to understand, cope, and accept his absence. I am sure many men have multiple reasons, whether it be the sport, the food, or even the quiet meditative process. Ask him why he does it, what he gets out of it, what his favorite part of it is. A great way to support your hunter is to understand and respect his hobby because it makes him happy.