I am probably the only guy at my job who will happily work the deer season opener. I like the outdoors but I’ve never fully caught the deer hunting bug. I would love to be part of the tradition however I cannot count hunting among my many hobbies; funny that I chose it for a topic this week.
It’s not that I haven’t tried hunting, I’ve made many attempts to enjoy it. As a young man, I started with a single-shot shotgun and later graduated to a 30-06 rifle. I don’t think I ever actually shot the rifle however I did use the shotgun my first season. I had been posted on the corner of a woods while others walked through it in a effort to chase out some deer. I have gained some patience with time but I was not a patient 12 year-old. I became quite bored with the whole process and decided to walk back to the pick-up. As I had not set aside bread crumbs to mark my trail, I decided instead to mark it with arrows in the snow. I used the butt end of the shotgun to draw the arrows which was the extent of any gun play I saw that week-end. As an adult, I tried posting near the Oak trees on the Kasprick farm where my trailer house was parked. I love Bugs Bunny cartoons and the draw of watching the cartoons shortened my deer season that year to about two hours. I left my spot and headed for my trailer, gas heat, coffee and Bugs. I didn’t make any arrows to mark my path this time as my hunting party never expected me to make it more than two hours into the hunt anyway.
I needed a real hunter to help me make the connection to deer hunting; enter Travis Black. Travis began hunting at age twelve, a passion given to him by his father and one he will pass to his children. Travis is one of those guys who takes joy in passing from civilization into the wild. His face lit up as he spoke to me about the cold, the effort, tradition and anticipation of the hunt. Travis and his father, Allen Black, only hunted black powder up until about six years ago. I think he liked black powder for the solitude and challenge of a season more exposed to cold and snow. He now hunts with a .257 Weatherby, chosen because of superior kinetic energy and because it was a gift from his wife, Angie. Three generations of the family Black (Allen, Travis, Cade)will pass from civilization into the woods of their Grandfather’s homestead this week-end. Allen will tell the same stories he always tells, they will visit the same deer camps they have for years and the past will suddenly become the present. In talking to Travis, I think I found the passion of hunting which was still beyond me. Planting food plots, siting-in rifles or processing venison were activities with one common denominator which was that they involved family members or friends. We all need a way to express our feelings with something better than words so perhaps spending time in the woods, sharing a joint purpose, is what a deer hunter truly loves.
I won’t be in the woods this week-end. It isn’t for me but I’m glad it is for many, like Travis. I will understand why you are there, be safe and make good memories.