The Next Sunrise

I’ve been hunting for more than 20 years. Most of those years were spent in the vast mountains, scenic rivers and open fields of Idaho. Throughout those 20 years, a lot has changed. I don’t just mean in the landscape of Idaho, but for myself. Military obligations, family events and work are always prevalent, but I never fail to find time to do the things I love with people I love. While the last couple of decades have come with heavy personal changes, I’ve also made some changes as small as what I wear on a hunt.

Last season started long before my typical scouting time. Thoughts of hunting are never far from my brain, but the preparation seems to start earlier and earlier every year. I decided to kick things off with a refresh of my equipment and attire. KUIU's motto of “ultra-light hunting” stuck with me after I watched a friend of mine reap the benefits of their lightweight gear as we trekked up hills on pursuits of the majestic Wapiti years prior. Their motto ties closely to my work in the military experience where finding the lightest, most functional equipment, without sacrificing durability and efficiency, is key. Now a devoted customer, I have what I need to be operationally successful in my fall and winter pursuits.  

Serious scouting that year started a little late in a familiar area thanks to the generosity of a motivated friend. With elk spotted within hours of arriving, I was excited for the weeks to come. The area wasn’t a secret by any means and had room for a lot of hunters, but with proper etiquette, getting away on our own adventure wasn’t an issue. A few miles on the boots, a couple small spills, a handful of laughs and a tank of gas later, September was right around the corner.  

There are very few places I’d rather be than outdoors. So, when the day comes to head out and reap the benefits of our scouting, you might think I clock out a little early. On the contrary, August 29th began with an early morning at work and a full truck of equipment waiting for me in the parking lot. Surprisingly to some, a productive day at work was still ahead of me. The motivation and desire to get to the outdoors seems to carry over into other aspects of life easily when you realize what you work for. This wasn’t just this day, but throughout my life. But that’s a story for another time.

When that big game season came to end and the waterfowl began to arrive, I welcomed the change, just like I try to welcome the small and large changes that impact my hours, my days and my years. Switching gears just means more opportunities for excessive laughter and new stories that carry me into yet another year of doing what I love.

In these past 20 years or so, I’ve explored mountains and personal limitations to my heart’s content. I truly don’t know where I’d be without those adventures.  

Regardless of policies and guidelines, or whoever’s holding office, I always fall back on a thought I’ve held on to since I was taught at a very early age: we are blessed to have the world at our fingertips. I’ve done my best to pass this idea on to others just as my grandfather, mother and father passed it on to me.

This country allows us to pursue our dreams with those we love. Never forget it and never take it for granted. Don’t miss an opportunity to pass on to those around you what you've learned from your mistakes, your failures and your successes. Every day is a new day.

Find your reason to see your next sunrise.    

- Justin


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