What’s Your Rush?

February 28, 2013 by  

By Nick Simonson

Sure, we’re in the outdoors for a lot of reasons.  Maybe we spend 45, 50, 55 or more hours under the metallic hum of fluorescent lighting each week.  Or maybe it’s because we spend our mornings and evenings in gridlock screaming at the driver in front of us, then trying to disguise it by hollering out the tune on the radio, followed by some air drumming on the dash board.  But the primary reason, that one sweet moment we savor, the instant we crave while we’re zoned out at a desk like Peter Gibbons in Office Space on some random Tuesday – is that split second when the rush hits.

the ultimate rush

For some it’s a big buck, for others, like Ben Evenson of Fargo, N.D., it’s a monster muskie like this one from a lake in eastern Minn, that provides the ultimate rush

In the outdoors, it’s that rush – from a hard thunk on the line, a shadow following a lure near the surface, a slight crackle in the woods behind us, the stiffness of a pointing dog in grass, or the thunderous explosion of beating wings – that gets us out there and keeps us coming back.
For me it began as a child on the dock at my grandparents’ lake cabin.  To a five-year-old, a three pound northern was a trophy.  It was far bigger than anything in the area around the dock that I had ever seen.  Yet, there it was trailing my little red-and-white Daredevle spoon from the point where I could first see the fish, to the instant its gills flared and its mouth opened around the shiny treble hook.  The fight was all my silver Zebco 202 could take, and alone, about all I could handle as I dragged the fish toward shore and watched it flop around in the sand until the hook popped loose and it flipped its way back in to the lake.  The adrenaline rush was the first of many in my time outdoors, and it had me hooked on the experience.
Flash forward some thirty years and I’m in a tree stand. The light is low, the wind has died, but movement is all around me.  I had grunted a trio of bucks in – a rush in itself – but they were all yearlings, and not the one I was waiting for.  They drifted off down the tree line around the old lake bottom and wandered out of sight.  Checking my sight pins, the last legal light has faded.  I lower my bow on the tow rope and lift my head one more time in the dark end of twilight as three shadows bound up the draw.  It’s my buck, the eight pointer I had been following since mid-summer on my trail cameras.
He sprints in after the audible memories of the grunts I had been aggressively blasting from my perch.  Suddenly, my heart is in my throat and my pulse is thundering through the straps of my safety harness and my legs are shaking beyond control.  He paces his way toward my stand, stopping broadside at 15 yards, before raising his nose and catching my scent.  Snorting in alarm, the two smaller but still respectable bucks behind him lifted their heads from where they had hung up when he made his approach.  One more snort and he bounds off with his buddies, just as fast as he had come in.  I sunk back on the padded seat and finally exhaled.  Even though I knew I had no shot, it was the biggest rush I’d experienced in a hunt.
Maybe it’s a muskie that blows up on a topwater; maybe it’s that dead weight sensation of a monster walleye on the line.  It could be the thunderous flush of a ruffed grouse in the north woods or a pheasant bursting from snow and cattail fluff from a WMA on the prairie.  The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, the heat of battle; there’s a rush for all seasons and those moments are the reasons we keep on coming back, day after day, month after month, season after season and year after year.  Experience it all again, and find your rush…in our outdoors.


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