It has been a fucking roller coaster. I have spent a huge portion of my time over the last year stressing about this project. At times I have felt like I was doing something very cool and at others it has felt like screaming into the void. I feel constantly as if I could do more and work harder. I have been riddled with doubt about every aspect of this. But there have been an equal number of good times. Getting my first goose on the eve of my thirtieth birthday. Distributing the vegetables from my garden to my friends. It has been up and down for sure, but throughout it was filled with adventures, learning, and lots of good food.
The plan that I initially set out with in December of 2017 was completely bonkers. When I started this, my intent was that each week I would choose a new quarry, go out, hunt it, produce a recipe, cook it, and then write three blog posts about it: one about the hunt, one about the meal, and one about the gear that I used. All of these accompanied, of course, by top-notch photography. I was very optimistic about my capabilities in all of those areas.
What I found, as you might imagine, is that this is all quite a bit more work than I had anticipated. Hunting is hard and I do not always come home with something to eat. The meals that I cook do not always come out right, so I don’t always end up with a recipe to share. I do not buy a lot of gear, nor can I afford to, and I often don’t feel as if I have the expertise to review the gear that I do use. And, perhaps most importantly, writing is very time consuming and very taxing.
That said, over the last year I have found time for all of these activities and I have grown better at all of them. Things that were incredibly difficult for me at the beginning (including simply expressing myself publicly) have become much easier. I have toned down my goals, and everything has become a bit more manageable as a result. When I started this project it was important to my schedule that I bring home meat on every hunt, so I stressed the entire time–especially as the day drew on and my game bag was still empty. I still stress a bit, because I do still need to bring home game in order to keep producing content, but I am no longer tearing my hair out about it. Additionally, I’ve grown better at photography, writing, web design, and every other aspect of running a blog like this. All good things to know!
Here are some of the concrete goals I set when I first started:
-Get 1000 followers on Instagram – Broke that in less than 3 weeks, but they were a lot of empty followers. Changed tactics to get more authentic followers, and right now I am sitting at just over 2200. Could be better, but not bad.
-Write 100+ Blog Posts – This is post number 57–not too shabby. I was never going to get to 100–that was an unrealistic goal. At 1 year having over 1 post per week is pretty good in my book.
-Make even a little bit of money – As of a couple days ago I got my first affiliate sale through the website. I may have only made $3.84, but that feels like a milestone. I have dumped tons of time and money into this, but my goal was to make some money in the first year, and I did. That feels good.
It feels like one year in it is starting to click. I am still mediocre at all of these pursuits, but I have learned a lot, and I have no doubt that I will continue to learn and grow more capable in all of these areas. I need to remind myself constantly that these things take time.
I have started working on a book. It will be a beginner’s guide to hunting, fishing, and foraging on the front range of Colorado. I am no expert, but a year of work has given me a bit of insight to share with those who need it. I realized this when I took my friend Dan out for his first hunt. It was my first time hunting with another person, and, until watching him, I didn’t realize how much I had learned. It happens so incrementally that it is hard to notice until you are presented with a reminder of where you started.
I often read books by people like Hank Shaw and Steven Rinella and feel as if there is no way that I can stand up to their wealth of knowledge. It feels ridiculous for me to try to put a product out there that would in any way seek to compete with them. Compared to them, I am an absolute novice in every aspect of this. But taking my friend out for his very first hunt I realized that I do have something to share. I am no expert, but I have picked up a lot of skills and knowledge over the past year. And it felt really good to have an opportunity to share that knowledge with someone.
So, thank you all for reading. It really means a lot to me. And here’s to the next year, may it bring many more adventures and whole mess of new knowledge. Cheers!