nless you just started hunting yesterday, you probably don’t need to be told that it’s good for the soul – or, if you prefer, for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Those of us who have spent any time at all in a duck blind, in a tree stand, or running dogs already know that there’s something about the hunt that restores a person like nothing else in the world. There’s a reason we spend the rest of the year counting the days until this time of year comes back around.

Turns out, we were on to something all along. 

According to psychologist and author James Swan, Ph.D., studies show that a solid majority of hunters – between 65 and 75 percent – hunt “because of psychological connections with nature that are unique to hunting.” He goes on to point out that hunters report stress relief as a benefit of the sport, leading to improved mental health. Of course, we already knew that. 

Hunting has always helped us disconnect with the busyness of life. It allows us to get back to nature, back to a sort of primitive state – a state in which the stack of projects on our desk are a world away, our cell phones are silent, and we can put away whatever else troubles us for a while and give our full attention to the chase. 

In addition to all that, for many of us, when we go hunting, we are carrying on a tradition – a way of life that was handed down to us from our fathers and their fathers, dating back further than most of us can trace. It’s a way of life many of us hope to pass on to our children. The bonding we experience when we pass on those kinds of traditions is something that experts have said offers social value far beyond simply what we gain by being out in the woods. 

We’re blessed to live in a state that truly lives up to its billing as a Sportsman’s Paradise. Our hunting seasons are long compared to other states and our game is plentiful. Some of the country’s more reasonable hunting land leases, and – if you don’t have the time to do your own scouting and don’t mind shelling out the coin for a sure thing – even some of the country’s finest game ranches are here or just across the state line. Put simply, there’s no lack of opportunities in our neck of the woods to cleanse the soul in the Great Outdoors. 

So, with hunting season in full swing in the Sportsman’s Paradise, let’s get out there. It’s been a long year and we need it.