giving thanks for the “hunt”

Posted December 1st, 2012 by Wade

as I get older, I realize more and more than hunting is much more about everything that surrounds it, than just putting meat in the freezer or antlers on the wall.  this past Thanksgiving is a great example of this.

the family loaded up and headed for the ranch wednesday afternoon.  it was yet another episode of “the clampetts go to the ranch”.  we tote so much crap we take two cars (three, technically).  the wife, me, 3 kids, 1 dog, 1 bronco, hunting stuff, yetis for food, yetis for deer, pelican cases full of guns, bags full of gear, general crap you wind up taking and etc.  I dont really mind that much but it strikes me that if the ranch was more than an hour door to door, fuel would be a much bigger concern.  I mean, we could probably make due all piled in one vehicle if we had to, but we’d have junk tied all over us like you see those national geographic pictues of a donkey ladened with straw coming from a field in some foreign country.  you know the ones.  95% straw with just the donkey’s eyes poking out one end and a tail on the other.  and like a cat perched on the top or something.  maybe a monkey.  anyways, we dont leave much at the house when we go to the ranch.

Thanksgiving at the ranch is cool, because there’s not much “set” on what we’re doing.  really, other than dinner (ish) and Thanksgiving lunch itself, there’s no real times for anything.  maybe you hunt.  maybe you sleep in and go fishing.  perhaps you just want to lay around and watch football all day (stupid longhorns…TCU?  really?)  bronco rides, nature walks, playing with the new puppy, target practice, coffee on the back porch still in your pj’s (one of my favorite things at the ranch), power walks down the county road clutching a kitchen knife proclaiming you can take out the mythical mountain lion if it attacks (B, I’m looking at you), etc.  it can be what you make of it.  and you can truly make a lot of it.

I got to spend a couple of hunts in the blind with the girls.  S was looking for horns and wondering how she was going to top the 10 point from last year.  we had good talks about ethical hunting, herd management, not shooting just to kill and things of that nature.  we also talked about school, friends, camp (always a hot topic), and what we saw and didnt see.  L sat with me once too.  again I was reminded of how hard it is to ask a 5 year old to sit still for extended periods of time, thankful for the insulation I have built into my blind.  and again, every time I’d look at her after a long silence, both of us looking for deer, and she’d look back and smile, I was reminded of exactly why we were hunting together.  sitting in that little box with my girls, watching nothing and occassionally seeing something, listening to the world and more importantly, to each other, we were making memories that dont get over-written very easily.  memories that also get saved in the heart, not just the mind.  these were times that are almost impossible to replace.  I’ve got 2 of my 3 girls in the blind with me these days.  eventually (I’m assuming) the third will join the ranks.  hopefully they’ll never get too old or too cool to hunt with dad.  even better, hopefully they’ll never lose the desire to be outdoors and continue to learn and become (better) hunters.  hopefully they’ll hunt on their own as they get older, and continue to do so even when I’m not with them.  its their choice of course, but this is what I hope for.  maybe, just maybe, they’ll hunt with their kids and tell them stories of “I remember when my dad and I….”

on the way home, when L was asleep in the backseat, pooch R was asleep in her bed in the front, I got to thinking.  thinking that we had an empty cooler.  didnt fire a shot.  that some would say we got skunked.  when asked if we got anything, the answer would be “nope, didnt get any deer”. but all was not lost.  in fact, it occurs to me something very important was (re)learned.  hunting….hunting with your kids specifically, actually has very little to do with shooting an animal.  but has everything to do with spending quality time together.  in the blind.  in the bronco.  walking thru the field.  whatever.  this is time that cannot be taken away.  this time is the forging of a memory that will last forever.  and that, is the best kind of hunting success you can ask for.

Maybe one day they’ll reach back in their file, And pull out that old memory, And think of me and smile….

-Alan Jackson, Drive (for Daddy Gene)


One Response to “giving thanks for the “hunt””

  1. SCT

    Love reading this and… GO FROGS!!!

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