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The Hunter’s Journal: Feels Like the First Time by Tony Barner


First times are unforgettable. I remember my first bear hunt in Canada with a $75.00 bow like it was yesterday. As I recall, I nearly let my nerves get the best of me that day too.

Seeing a bear enter my shooting lane for the first time was an indescribably intense sensation. Even with adrenaline surging, I could only pull the bow string back a quarter of the way. On my second attempt, I just managed to pull the string back half way. At this point, I knew I had to give myself an internal pep talk. I didn’t travel all this way to have my nerves hinder my success. I harnessed my anxiety, sharpened my aim and welcomed the new adventure. On my third try, I made an awesome and extraordinary connection to Mother Nature that continues today.

As summer ends in Appalachia, the air cools, male katydids sing their so-long serenade and I eagerly anticipate the arrival of archery season. Velvet is fading from hard horns right now as I reflect on my final harvest from last season. I retrace every step in my memory, like following a river upstream to the beginning. I have a restless urge to return to the forest. I’m preparing for my first hunt all over again in my mind. Archery hunters know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re getting ready to bow up right now too, I bet.

Since my inaugural harvest in the North Country years ago, I’ve been blessed to hunt in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and—of course—West Virginia. No matter where I hunt, or how many years pass, the rush is still the same.

If you’ve never experienced the sport of archery hunting for yourself, this is a great year to start. I assure you, there’s nothing quite like it. If you’re a true novice, just stop in and see the folks at Whitetail Pro Archery in Ronceverte. Jeremy and his staff will be happy to get you set up for your next (first) indescribable, heart-pounding, adrenaline-fueled, adventure!

– Tony Barner, LBSPY #42 (Sept 23-Oct 7, 2013)

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Publisher/Editor in Chief at HashtagWV | + posts

HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.