About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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November 29, 2007

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I doubt I'm the only one who considers hunting therapeutic. The quiet of pre-dawn, the solitude of a tree stand, the connection with nature, even the mental focus of the shooting range -- maybe we're not even consciously aware of the extent to which these elements help us, but I believe the benefits to our physical and mental health are very real.

I think a lot of it has to do with the shift in perspective. I'm the type of person who frets endlessly about everything. And I mean stupid things - someone cuts me off on the parkway, I lose a favorite pair of earrings, IKEA delivers the wrong color couch - it's laughable to think that any rational person would actually let these things get to them. But I'm a pro at needless worry.

Only a few things help to shake me free of those silly hangups. Music is a big one. The right song at the right time really sets me straight. Field time is another. On an average day, the quarter-inch grease stain the mechanic left on my driver's seat upholstery seems like a towering injustice that signals the end of all that is good and decent in this world. But on a day in the woods, well, I can think straight. When the tree I'm sitting under has survived a zillion years of storms, winters, floods, wars, and untold natural abuses, what does my Volkswagen upholstery matter?

For me, the perspective shift is a kind of therapy through liberation. All those draining little worries just fall away, and I'm reminded of what's actually important. And it's not unusual that -- upon my clear-headed return to civilization -- I'm relaxed enough to remember where I left those earrings after all. --K.H.


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Amen! I am (unfortunately) A/R, OCD, type A, to the point of exhaustion. I can't sleep in or sit and read quietly on a day off because there's ALWAYS something productive that I could/should be doing. Etetera, etcetera.

But something about "being in the tree" makes it all go away. Laundry, dishes, picking up after everyone - so what. It can wait. While I get irritated simply thinking about the 10 minutes I wasted arguing with some customer service representative over something stupid, I don't regret a single moment out in the woods.


I totally agree. Nothing matters when there can be time outside. Everything else just melts away and it can all wait until tomorrow. I don't know what I would do without my time in the field, just sitting, I don't even have to be doing anything. Life is grand!!


Such a peaceful time. The whole world can seem to be falling apart. But go out and sit in a tree stand or on the side of hill and everything around you seems to come into focus and all of the stress from work just goes away.

Dana @ The Wild WoodsWoman

I can tell when I haven't gotten out in the woods in a while - the stress level just keeps slowly rising. Then when I finally do get out, it's just a totally pressure release. My whole body relaxes, and my mind relaxes, and I feel like I can really SEE things. Does that make sense?

Jodi Kotimaki

I too find that going out in the woods is relaxing. It's my alone time, no one can bother me!
Now with the cold weather and snow coming on, what does everyone do instead of hunt for that relaxation time? I'll be ice fishing once the ice sets up on the lakes, but that's not really alone time. I find that I need to start exercise more and that seems sufficient until warm weather returns.
Any other thoughts?

Amy Tucker

Amongest my crowded inbox, I catch the subject of this particular message and think, WOW, there are others that totally "get it." As a women, you know, the one that no one can believes likes to hunt, I feel like I tell this to everyone that asks why I do it. It is such a mental release and a real time to "smell the pine sap" and refelct on life. I enjoy all of God's creations, right down to the inch worm crawling across my tree stand. It's a time to pray, be grateful and breath. Right on, no better therapy as far as I'm concerned. I also think for those that haven't experienced the hunt, it saves a fortune on therapy!