Hunting is not life. There I said it. Not exactly what you thought you would read in this article, huh? But it is absolutely true.

No matter how much you love to hunt (and not too many guys love it more than I do), it is still not the most important thing in your life - or at least it shouldn't be, in my opinion.

You know the commercial that says "hunting is not a passion, it's an obsession." Sadly in many cases that is true. It can become an obsession that impacts your family life. I can testify that, at times, I too have fallen under this spell. You see a big buck and until you get another chance back in the woods with him, it dominates your thoughts. The urge to hunt at every possible opportunity just to get a crack at him is huge.

But as fun and rewarding as hunting is for all of us, we must still balance it with our family lives. I believe that almost any hunter would say that his family comes before hunting. But do they actually live those words? Do you miss your son's basketball game to make a hunt? How about your daughter's dance recital?

In my opinion these things are far more important than any hunt you could make. Your children are only with you for a few fleeting years before they are off to college, get married and move away. You cannot have those times together back.

How about your wife? How much do you neglect her for the sake of hunting? This is, or should be, the most important person in your life, along with your children. Now, granted, we all need time alone and time for recreation, and I for one love to be out in the woods when I have those opportunities.

There are you guys who hunt with your wives and/or kids, and that is fantastic. You fortunate guys get to do it all at once, but many of us hunt with other buddies or even at times alone.

Some of you, like myself, are fortunate enough to work at a job that has liberal days off whether it be holidays or vacation days, and we get to hunt during the week, while the wife is at work and the kids are in school. That lessens the impact of our absence tremendously.

But even though I get five weeks of vacation a year, all family vacations are planned first and whatever (if any) days that are left over I may choose to take as hunting days. Hunting is not even considered until we have planned all of our family trips.

So guys, think of your families first, give them your undivided attention, make sure they are loved and well taken care of and then you will see just how much God will bless you with time to hunt, fish and do those things we so enjoy.

I hope each and everyone of you had a very Merry Christmas, and wish you a safe, happy and prosperous New Year. Enjoy the season with your loved ones, and be safe when you are chasing those deer.