I have an intense drive that comes out when the days grow shorter and the mornings start to cool. I cherish the time spent in the great outdoors. I enjoy the camaraderie with friends and family alike. I have an intense passion for the dogs I follow in the field. And this is all brought together when the game is brought to the table.
But where did I get my passion for everything related to springer spaniels, 16 gauge shotguns, wood ducks, grouse, pheasants and deer?
I know where and I have an older brother and cousins a like who will give you the same answer as I;
It wasn't mandated that I hunt by my father but it was rather strongly suggested by the shear overexposure of the hunting culture. Hunting is something we, our family and in particular my Dad, just did. Growing up, I longed to be old enough to carry my own shotgun on those magical Saturday mornings. I tagged along behind both my Dad and brother for as long as I can remember. Looking back on those days is what got me hooked on this pastime. Back then I always wished I were old enough to pursue the game and when I became old enough I wished that the sky would be filled with ducks, geese and rising roosters. I hoped that a big buck, just like the big six pointer my Dad shot "on the old railroad tracks back in '64," would cross my tracks. I still have those visions of grandeur while afield and I know where I got them from.
|6 Point Buck taken by my Dad in the fall of 1964|
For as long as I can remember hunting was, and is, a significant part of our lives. It has only been in recent times that I have began to understand a deeper meaning of hunting and what it has meant to me. It has brought patience to an impatient person, it has brought dedication and sense of direction to a wandering soul and it has has brought balance to a hectic world. Many times has a hunt brought solace to hard times. And for all of this is why I'm thankful that I hunt.
At the beginning of this year's hunting season I started to feel an overwhelming guilt that I was entering a new season knowing that my Dad wasn't.
That was the first hunting season in well over 55 years that my Dad was unable to hunt due to illness. The future looked clouded with uncertainty but we have the memories and we'll continue to talk about the past adventures as if they happened last season.
Since I moved to Colorado, I haven't had many chances to get out in the field with my Dad as much as I would have liked. Over the last few years I tried to go hunting with my Dad every chance I could. In the last few years I have made a few trips back East to help re-live the memories of the past.
Those trips will be forever etched in my mind. As will the million other memories of my Dad through hunts, life and everything in between.
Over the last few hunting seasons, I tried to savor the time afield and perhaps reflect just a little bit more about the hunts of the past because those hunts are the foundation of my passion.
I'll continue this odyssey as its beginnings started with my Dad long before I started to hunt.
That is why I hunt.
I originally wrote this passage in the fall of 2010. That was the first autumn that my Dad did not hunt due to illness. For some reason I never felt comfortable posting this until now.
On April 16th my Dad passed away after a two and half year battle with several illnesses. His love for the outdoors was known by everyone who knew him. I will always remember that he passed that love down to his sons and I'll pass that down to my son.
He will be missed.
Til next time...