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Tim H. Martin

Hunting and running communities share similarities

By Tim H. Martin

My heart has been heavy since April 15, 2013, when the best and worst of humankind converged at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

I've prayed a lot, specifically for the healing of the injured, and for the grieving to receive peace and comfort which surpasses all understanding.

Being a long distance runner myself, I can't help but feel for the poor runners who were turned away before they were able to cross the finish line.

I've run three half marathons in the past 11 months and have been a hunter for nearly 40 years. I can attest that the running and hunting communities are not unalike. In fact, they are quite similar.

Both require an incredibly hard work ethic with a grit and determination you only find in the best of people. Both take passion and dedication to reach a goal that is greatly misunderstood by outsiders. Both runner and hunter know an immeasurable sense of joy and personal accomplishment after they've paid the price to reach their goal, whether the trophy is a set of antlers and fresh venison or a ribbon and medal.

Even if you only run when something is chasing you, you can appreciate the feeling of loss suffered by marathoners who were ushered off the course and not allowed to finish.

Imagine all the hard work, money, time and months of preparation you log before each hunting season; planting fields, hoisting stands, clearing trails, purchasing gear, target practicing, studying maps, scouting, checking trail cameras, supplemental feeding and on and on.

Now imagine opening day has finally arrived. You wake up in the wee hours, eat breakfast and travel to your property, anxiously walk to your stand, get set up and then, more hours of painful waiting in the cold.

Suddenly, a massive 200-inch buck appears just ahead, walking slowly toward your stand. It turns broadside and stops at 30 yards. Just as you are about to collect your venison for the year, an activist jumps out from behind a tree blowing a whistle, spooking your deer into the next county. You watch helplessly as your dream buck vanishes forever, along with your dreams and countless hours of hard work.

Boston runners who had the finish line within their grasp must know how that feels.

Hunters, please pray for those who lost loved ones and those injured in Boston, as well as the ones who never got to finish. Those good people are very much like you.

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