Part I – How We Got Started
By Adam and Brenda Weatherby
Even though most would think we, as a Weatherby couple, have hunted together for many years, the truth is it is something we have grown into. And over the almost past decade, others have observed and asked how we do that. This 4-part article series is a chance to describe that journey and celebrate it and give some insight into how readers might apply some of the things we have learned. Although this is in the context of hunting together as a couple, we must make one thing clear: this isn’t about hunting. Deep down, it is about enjoying your relationship with your spouse through the enjoyment of life experiences, amazing places, and loved hobbies. It’s about freeing each other to live life to the fullest together. If your goal is to hunt with your wife or husband, you might be missing the real message of what we are about, but we will talk hunting, we promise.
Before we started hunting together, we still adventured together. It was always about being together, not about the hobby itself. When we first met, it was waterskiing and volleyball. These were two sports Brenda just loved. Adam became a lover of both, and we played and played, fully immersed in the experience. We were always each other’s favorite partner, no matter if either of us could have found a more skilled teammate. After we got married, Adam became an excellent wakeboarder, and Brenda was his boat driver. She wakeboarded too, but together was the focus and helping Adam land that next flip. These hobbies transitioned as we had a family. We’ve been avid triathlon racers, backpackers, and cyclists. Adam started cycling because Brenda loved it, not because he especially did. And that experience made him begin to love yet another hobby to enjoy together. Cycling took us to unique places to see, cultures to experience, and training plans to conquer so we could enjoy all that the hobby had to offer.
We have always chosen together over the hobby itself. Just as Adam started cycling because Brenda loved it, so Brenda started hunting because Adam loved it. She wasn’t confident in this outdoor activity, and yet, Brenda realized that to dislike something that her husband loved was to steal some of his joy in the activity. Being at least partly interested in Adam’s love for hunting and open to trying it was a blessing worth any sacrifice on Brenda’s part. Our relationship history has always done this for each other, giving and taking on each of our parts. Is it always 50-50? No. One time, Adam bought Brenda a longboard and a wetsuit hoping Brenda would love surfing. She tried and tried and just really never took to it. It was a hobby that didn’t work for us, and more pressure would have only made this worse. The good part was that Adam ended up with another surfboard in his quiver!
There is a possibility that hunting as a couple isn’t going to work for you. However, we are confident that there are at least a few hobbies that you can thoroughly enjoy together. With time, Brenda’s firearm confidence grew, and hunting became a passion of hers and not just to honor Adam’s love for the sport itself. She loved the food aspect; processing and cooking the meat is her highlight. Don’t rush that part; let it evolve as it evolves and keep experiencing the wonders together. This solidifies your joint hobby.
If you have your sights set on hunting together, we have some tips: (This is with the assumption that the husband is introducing the wife to hunting. However, we do recognize that the opposite could be true as well)
Guys: be open to the reality that you might have to go a little less crazy than if you were with your buddies. You might have to hike fewer miles, bring more stuff, and not get up as early as you might if you were on your own. Are these things a sacrifice in a way? Yes, maybe. If you expect to hunt the same way you do yourself, then you might sabotage this opportunity. You will also need to understand her fears, plan, and reassure her that the most important thing is being together, experiencing it with her. If your wife isn’t confident in the shooting aspect, practice with her, and encourage her as she improves.
Always make sure she knows that her best is good enough. She will not become an expert hunter overnight but with each experience grow in her skills and confidence. Too much pressure is bound to turn her off to the hunting experience altogether. Your sensitivity to what’s going on inside of her is the key. Build her confidence, and she will be more likely to thrive in it.
Gals: You will be stretched to go beyond what you think is comfortable or maybe even possible at times. Know in your mind that everything cannot be entirely safe or predictable. Hunting brings out the wild side of nature, and believe it or not, that’s the most fun part of it. It is what your husband thrives on and what you will learn to love as well. Trust your husband to take care of you, and don’t panic; just put one foot in front of the other.
You are tougher than you think, and once you’ve been through a challenging hunt, you will have more confidence and love the feeling it has given you. Make the most challenging parts of the adventure the best parts of the trip. Most of all, take in the rarity of the moment: the rawness of sitting in the dirt, watching the snowfall around you, and the cyclical rhythm of waiting versus the intensity of action that only a hunt provides. Live in the moment for once, worry about the dark when darkness comes and not before.
Be in awe of being truly in the moment, which is so rare in our modern lives. Enjoy the challenge of pushing your limits physically and keep your mind tough, knowing you can do almost anything for 5 hours or even five days.