Indeed, many hunters, particularly those who hunt deer, squirrels and turkeys—often considered more solitary activities—have known this for a long time.
While writers who cover the outdoors and recreational shooting are often quick to tout the benefits of sharing our hunting and shooting passion with family and friends, it’s important to note, these same pursuits are perfect ways to spend some quality time alone, too.
A recent CNN article highlighted many of the benefits of spending time alone including the fact that such periods improve a person’s creativity, increases happiness (particularly in people who tend to be more introverted), reduces the risk of depression, helps a person work harder, provides a sense of self-satisfaction, clears the mind and even offers an opportunity to meet new people. The article referenced a recent study by researchers at the University of Maryland and Georgetown University, who noted that people who often forego activities alone, miss out on a number of rewarding experiences.
For recreational shooters, while sharing and taking turns is always nice, let’s face it, the simple occasional act of not having to coordinate a schedule with another person, take turns in a shooting lane or with a gun and simply detach from the world and focus solely on the target in front of you, is a great way to unwind and clear the mind. You can get into a better rhythm with your shooting, and it’s just simple fun to go shoot through a box or two of ammo without interruption.
Likewise, as rewarding as sharing our nation’s hunting heritage with a child or spending time in a duck blind or walking a field with good friends can be, there is a magic thrill that fills the soul with possibilities when stepping into a patch of woods or hiking a backwoods trail with a rifle or shotgun slung over the shoulder and knowing you have this land, and this moment, all to yourself—at least for a short while.
Summer is in full swing, so amidst the chaos of family vacations, chores outside and the non-stop pace of life that marches on no matter what the season, remember to find a little “me time” behind the stock or grip of your favorite firearm. Whether it’s popping holes in paper at the local air-conditioned indoor range, or stretching shots out on an outdoor range in preparation for the coming fall big game seasons, a little time alone expending ammunition will leave you feeling refreshed, empowered and probably even a lot happier.