Honest opinion on taking the month off work for elk season? Please help!!

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Jul 9, 2018
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Hey guys! I’m stuck on the decision of whether or not it’s “okay” or “responsible” for me to take the month of September off work to spend it hunting elk. I know what I think and how I feel but the responsible side of me gets in the way and I’m looking for honest opinions to help me make the decision.
So I’m 21 years old and live in Ohio. I’m a union pipefitter and have been in the trade since turning 18. The pipefitters have a five year apprenticeship of which I have one year left. My goal was to have if not 100% at least 75% of a house saved in cash at the end of my apprenticeship.
I’ve spent the last three years working for a local contractor making apprentice wages, ($25-$36k annually) which makes it hard to put back money like I want to. However I’ve been blessed with parents who have let me stay at home to help save as much money as possible. Up until this January I had put back $45k towards my goal. At the beginning of the year work got slow locally and I was laid off. Three weeks later I was extremely blessed with an opportunity to go to a job out of town at an oil refinery. I was sent as a welder which means I’m paid journeyman scale and have now been here for three months working 6-7 days a week grossing 10k-12k a month. I’ve been told I can expect to be here 12-16 months which will put me at an estimated annual income of $130k. I have worked extremely hard to get this opportunity but still understand I’m blessed to have the opportunity to get ahead in life at such a young age, this year will change the course of my life by getting such a huge financial jump.
Anyways enough of that, I say all that to say this. My dream since starting my apprenticeship was to take the month of September off the year I finish my apprenticeship and spend it elk hunting. One great thing about what we do is that as far as vacation time goes they tell us to “take off what you can afford” there are no consequences for extended vacations but we don’t have paid time off, making the money we do they tell us we should be able to afford it without (I agree).
My hold up is after working 2500-3500 hours a year the last four years I’ve become somewhat of a workaholic and feel like I’m not doing enough or I should be at work when I’m not and get nervous about my future any day I’m not working and making money to build my future. However I know that considering I work 6-7 days a week year round that those 30 days are basically covered by all the weekends I work while friends and family camp and go on vacations during the summer. I just get caught up thinking that even though financially I can afford to do I catch myself thinking about what I could do for my future with that $10k I’ll give up by taking a month off.
What do you think? I have a lifetime to work but if I do the work now I can spend a lifetime hunting. Am I thinking too much or do I need to stick with my usual 2 week trip and keep focusing my time on the future? My thoughts are that by working like I do now I can buy a house in cash and by not having a mortgage I’ll be able to afford to do things like take month long hunting trips, but I also know that while I’m 21 with no wife, kids or house to take care of I need to take advantage of it and do things while I can.
I’m sorry for the long boring post but I’m torn between the two and want to hear from those who have been there and done that. What do you wish you had done at my age? What would you have done or done differently at my age to put you in a better position later in life. I chose to be a pipefitter for the freedoms to work shutdowns and money up then take time off so when do I know it’s time to start taking that time!?
 

Hunting Wife

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I wish I had spent more time working.....said no one on their death bed, ever.

You seem like someone who is pretty grounded. Kudos for being responsible and thinking about your financial future. But if you’ve sat down, looked at the numbers, and feel comfortable financially with the situation, then take the time. You never know what the future might hold, or how your situation might change down the road. It will probably never be easier or less complicated than it is right now to take that kind of time for yourself.
 

Khunter

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Hunt. No question. In essence you are taking your vacation time, or most of it? in one stint. How many additional weeks will you take in a year’s time span?

The day may come when like MANY people you will be hard pressed to take more than 2 weeks in a stretch be it for family or work reasons. Live this opportunity like there is no tomorrow. Every Year.
 

Big Fin

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Not even a question. When you are committed with the obligations of family, etc. you will be grateful your planning and hard work put you in a position to go do this. I would put your bow in your truck, leave your phone at home on the table for a month, and call it the best year of your young life. Good luck in the hunt.
 

nick87

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Dec 12, 2014
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Northern Illinois
You've earned it. I was in your same spot once pretty much to a "T". Go now while you can I got so wrapped up in work and trying to build up. Now is the time to do it if you can. When the economy tanked and I had plenty of time and plenty of money in the bank I was to afraid to spend any of it. Other responsibilities and expenses are in your near future believe me. Go do it now or you'll be wishing you did later. Sounds like your plenty responsible with your money. If it still doesn't feel right take two or even three weeks if it helps you feel more justified. Good luck!
 

nrpate05

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You're miles ahead of where I was at your age. I'm 32 and my wife and I have had a few friends our age who have lost there lives in freak accidents. The reality is that life is short and everyone should take advantage of all it has to offer. Will there ever be a time in your forseeable future that you'll be able to hunt elk for an entire month? How many people ever get to do that?! You've worked hard, treat yourself. Oh yeah, bring a fishing rod and a nice bottle of your favorite beverage. Enjoy
 

BMF11

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Jan 15, 2019
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Sounds to me like you’re more “responsible” than most at an especially young age as well! When you do have a family, you will really question responsibilities and whether or not it’s “okay” to take that time off. Do it now, while you can and while your responsibilities mainly only affect yourself and not your loved ones. Congratulations on your great jumpstart to a bright future. I’m guessing you have some wonderful teachers (parents) that have instilled this work ethic in you. Enjoy what you work so hard for which in the end is the freedom to do what you wish. And thank those parents along the way!
 

ElkFever2

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Iowa
Do it. Do it. Do it.

I earned my bachelors by age 21 and wasn't ready to "grow up" just yet. I spent the next 2 years saving my money to go on a trip of a lifetime, which is exactly what I did at age 23. I traveled to six countries and transversed 24 states for 7 months, all living out of my backpack. I have zero regrets, and a ton of great memories. 99% of people I talk to about my trip are jealous, and the other 1% have done it themselves. Be the 1%

The opportunity cost of not working during this time amounted to about 120k lost when I retire some day. However, it is still worth it to me.

I am 35 now, have a mortgage, career, wife, kiddo, and other obligations. I still go on adventures, but a month of elk hunting is completely off the table for the next 20 years. 20 years! Yeah, I'll appreciate it when I go elk hunting for a month with a head full of grey hair, but I will be jealous of you doing it with young legs at 21.
 

Karl

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Feb 24, 2019
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Definitely go hunt dude! The fact that your thinking it through is awesome and means you're a mile ahead of a lot of your peers! It's great to set yourself up for the future, but maintain that work/life balance for your mental health. Plus you have tons of time ahead in your life to look back on this month of hunting. Chase em hard, buy a good camera to document it all, and live it to the fullest!
 

Eric.MN

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You seem very fiscally respoible. You work your tail off and have put your self in a pretty good spot. I would take the time and make the memories you can now before you add more responsibilities as life goes on.
 

MTelkHuntress

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Mar 20, 2019
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Missoula, MT
I agree with everyone else, take the time off to hunt. Best decision I made after college. I didnt get to hunt at all during college and that was really hard. I also want to see my dad get his first bull before he cant handle the hikes anymore. Priorities. I'm taking a couple years off before applying to medical school while also working. Never know when you'll get time to hunt so take it while you can.
 

Tjd

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Aug 1, 2015
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I did 18 days last September and it was all elk hunting... best decision ever. Im self employed and plan my years around sept.. your young and have good work ethic. Take the time off man!
 

Mtnhuntr

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Sep 26, 2017
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666
Not even a question. When you are committed with the obligations of family, etc. you will be grateful your planning and hard work put you in a position to go do this. I would put your bow in your truck, leave your phone at home on the table for a month, and call it the best year of your young life. Good luck in the hunt.
This ^^^. I spent over 50 days in the field this past year hunting elk, deer, and bison (the most I have ever done) and I do not regret it. Obviously, there are things in life more important than hunting (family, God, etc...), but if you can hunt throughout September and keep the right balance, do it and LOVE every minute of it!
 

MTTW

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I did the whole season, 5 weeks, off work a couple of times when I was early 20s. I have never regretted it for 1 minute. I damn sure wasn't making the money you are. Easy decision. There is more to life than money.
 

GrantK

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Aug 30, 2018
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Do the hunt! I was in your exact boat at that age and I made it a priority to take off 30 days to hunt elk every year even if it made me feel like I was making a bad financial choice, 15 years later and I realize that I learned far more about life in those times of being "irresponsible" than I ever would have working to get farther up the career ladder, I don't put in as much time chasing elk now due to an alpine climbing addiction but I make sure I get at least three weeks in, and I push the limits of an unlimited time off policy, you never know how much time you have, live every day!
 
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