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The Primitive Essence

By Michael Reisig

There seems to lie in most men (and some women,) the almost primordial desire to fish and hunt.

When questioned about it, many folks lack a plausible explanation. Lets face it, most of us don’t do it because it is an essential aspect of feeding our family, though some will use that as an excuse.

No, the truth is that the contest between man and beast (or fish) strikes an intrinsic chord within the deepest, most primitive part of man’s nature.

I think that the stalk and the sighting, the tautening of the line and the scream of the reel awaken that very basic essence inside us all, the challenge of survival.

The true fisherman may take on difficult fishing challenges in a variety of locals, but he’d fish in a bucket if that were the only option he had, because he needs to feel the tug.

The true hunter will find less elation in the finale of the hunt, having drawn his pleasure from the journey, because it’s the stalk that drives the heart to the beat of a four-minute mile, not the final shot.

There are those that don’t participate in these sports because they no longer enjoy killing, and I well understand and appreciate that. As I have grown older I find myself leaning more and more in that direction. But I have a friend that can take nearly anyone, outdoor enthusiast or not, turkey hunting, and by the time that bird is in range, he’ll guarantee a noticeable thumping in their chest. It is simply the undeniable thrill of the hunt.

There are few people who can resist the infectious excitement as a bobber dances on the surface and is sucked down by some scaly denizen at the end of the line. There’s nothing quite like watching a surface lure smacked into the air by a fat, hungry bass. The desire to wrench the rod back and drag the creature from the water is almost uncontrollable.

I’m convinced that this unbridled passion is all part of a distant, genetic recollection of what we once were.

It may also be the setting that provides catalyst to these emotions. The smells of the forest and the lake, the caress of the wind, the liquid sensation of a swift river beneath a fragile craft, all these experiences send messages to an almost forgotten part of the human psyche.

It’s true that man’s baser characteristics have caused a good degree of problems on this planet, but a part of me hopes we don’t progress beyond our elemental attraction to the challenge of survival.

There have been lots of changes to this old world, and I think there are more to come. If the human race is to survive, we may once again need the edge this primitive essence that our age-old instincts provide us.