I am a big fan of mancations, but just as important as having fun is keeping everyone safe! Every year my best friends from college who I played sports with always plan a guys weekend where we can all get away for a few days and have a great time with one another.
Guys’ only weekends allow everyone to decompress for a few days and just relax away from the distractions of the office like meetings and appointments and step away from duties as a father, changing diapers and bringing the children to dance and sports.
Most of the time my friends and I enjoy planning our mancation around a hunting trip. All of us grew up in hunting families and as we grew older and began to start our own families we continued the hunting tradition but often did not have enough time to consistently get out on a nice hunting trip or over to the range to practice. Because of these reasons, a hunting weekend once or twice a year was a great choice to schedule around our mancations.
Hunting provides an experience that is like non other. Sure we could plan a vacation to Florida or head to a few ball games for the weekend but a hunting trip is different. It not only allows us to spend time with one another but it allows us to really relax and come back down to earth for a while and really clear our minds. Hunting enhances our current relationships and creates new ones. When hunting we all get to go through the journey together. From planning the trip, to pick out and packing our gear, all the way to the point of being in the woods ready to take down an animal. Each member of the group is present for each stage of the process and when someone finally takes down a prized piece of game it makes the experience that much more fulfilling for all of the members involved. Through each trip that we have we always learn something new about one another or something new about the sport of hunting.
Our last guys’ weekend we had was a few months ago. Everything was running smoothly and we were having a great time. A few of us got some great animals, while others were not so successful this time around. Although everything went as planned we did have a few problems. A friend of ours who we have known for years was having trouble with one of his guns. He ended up fixing it but after taking a few shots with it to test it out he noticed that he was having trouble hearing in his right ear. When he said that I knew immediately that he had been affected by noise induced hearing loss. NIHL is very common amongst people who do not wear hearing protection in loud settings such as hunting, construction, or even concerts. I had an idea of what had possibly happened because my father who hunted for many years is severely affected by hearing loss and it is mainly due to hunting without hearing protection. In order to increase his hearing levels my father wears a hearing aid in each ear, at the time we did not know what the outcome would be, but my buddy had damaged his hearing enough where he now in certain situations wears a hearing aid in his right ear to help increase his hearing levels.
After this trip we all made sure that we were equipped with proper hearing protection to make sure our hearing was protected the next time we decided to go hunting. The folks at Minute Man Review have a great list of ear protection options. However, there are a few options out there you can choose from when picking a hearing device. The first level of hearing protection is the earplug. A molded bud that fits right into your ear is very popular but often does not provide the best protection for hunters. A common complaint by hunters is that certain hearing protection takes away their ability to not only hear the other members of their group but also animals that may be in the area. Too eliminate these problems; many hunters tend to use electronic headphones. This type of headphone not only provides maximum hearing protection but also allows in sounds that are below 80 dB. This allows hunters to still communicate effectively with one another and hear animals that may be slowly approaching.
We always have a great time on each and every guy’s weekend we have. After the last one we still plan to go hunting on our next trip but we have ensured that we will all have proper hearing protection on at all times to eliminate any further injuries. Hearing loss is a very common problem these days, if you choose to go hunting on your next mancation or if you are an avid hunter yourself make sure you are always properly equipped with hearing protection to eliminate the chance of hearing loss in the future.
Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss. My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss. I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can.