“The couple who hunts together, stays together.”

Sound familiar? Those words are posted on images and shared in statuses over and over again. However, when you’re out hunting, it’s not always with the person you’re married to — or with any person at all. You’re out there because you love it. But, when you’re not alone, you’re usually with someone you like and want to share a unique experience with.

Ask anyone who hunts or spends time outdoors why they do it, and you shouldn’t be surprised to hear “love” at any given point. With Valentine’s Day near, for the season of “love” it’s fitting to dedicate a post to people who have made hunting and being outdoors a part of who they are.

www.hunter-ed.com

It might be hard to find statistics that confirm couples who hunt together have better odds at staying together, but the stories of couples that do make great headlines. The Grooms, an Ohio couple, are a great example of how hunting brings people together. With bows in hand, the pair tackles the Ohio outdoors — taking turns at hunting the biggest bucks. Kevin introduced Lindsay to hunting while they were still dating, and as the relationship developed so did their commitment to spending more time outdoors.

In 2012, Lindsay tagged her largest buck, a 150-class 13-pointer to accompany her husband’s 170-class buck nicknamed Corncob. The two are never in competition but hunt as a team to fill their freezers each season. As Lindsay sees it, “I’m not trying to get a deer bigger than Corncob in our house. Kevin can have the bigger deer, and I can cook better than him.”

Just as Kevin introduced his wife to hunting, there are hundreds — maybe thousands — of educators and trainers who are working to do the same for the next generation. Bridger Card is one of those young people who have been able to hone their hunting skills because of people committed to the advancement of outdoor sports.

One conversation with him is all you need to figure out that Bridger loves hunting, and there isn’t much that keeps him from being outdoors. Not even the numerous brain tumors, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and surgeries that Bridger has had since childhood can remove the passion he has for hunting.

His dedication inspires expert hunters to come to his aide whenever he needs them. Earlier this year, Bridger and his dad were on a hunt in Wyoming but were running out of time to fill his deer tag. His dad called in help from Adam Eakle, of KSL Outdoors, who brought in his friends to track down a 4×4 buck for Bridger. After firing a shot that wounded the buck, Bridger and his seven-person team tracked him until they found him — the afternoon of the next day. The expertise and persistence of the crew helped fill his deer tag, but this story speaks more importantly to what it means to be a part of the outdoors community.

However, not everyone needs a team or even a person to understand a love for hunting. Sometimes it’s a four-legged family member that’s at your side. Some people believe that dogs are simply tools for humans to use, but for others, that can’t be farther from the truth. What tool gets excited before dawn and is ready to go with very little effort? What tool sits patiently and quietly at attention, waiting for the call to retrieve the day’s prize? What tool is content sitting in the woods for hours, and isn’t disappointed returning to the truck without any tags filled? What tool loves to hunt?

None come to mind.

Hunting with your dog is a rewarding experience on its own. They spend hours on end training and improving their skills with you. They’re consistently eager to please, and when the season arrives, you know exactly what they’re capable of doing. They just might be the best hunting partner you’ll ever have.

Whether you hunt with a spouse, a child, your dad, or a best friend — as long as you take someone you love hunting, you’ll be getting the most out of your time in the field or woods. In the end, a community that hunts together will grow together.