I was reading my colleague Brett French’s post about first hunts and thoughts of a couple of them came to my mind.
First a tale about 6 year old Taylor. Although he had been on a few short jaunts into the countryside in the past, young Taylor went on his first true hunting trip a few weeks ago. Taylor, his friend, and both boys’ dads traveled a few hundred miles in search of the wary ring-necked pheasant. They hunted hard for both days of the outing, yet had but only one rooster to show for their efforts. Both dads expressed some disappointment in the results, but the young boys’ optimism came through. After all, they spent two days on the road with their dads, a night in a motel, complete with a pool. They learned how to carry their guns safely and got to shoot their 22’s, (Taylor’s kicks), and they had one very handsome pheasant to take home to mom. Why would there be disappointment in the creation of a memory that will last a lifetime and provide a story for generations to come? For these boys there was no disappointment, just the joy of hunting with Dad.
In another time, another young boy was awakened in the dark hours of a mid-autumn morning. A fifty mile ride to the family’s deer hunting territory was the first task on the agenda. The boy slept a bit in the roomy back seat, comforted by a scratchy radio and a warm blanket. A short time after day break, a nice 4 point muley buck was spotted by the boy’s dad. A shot from a trusted 270 rang out, but missed its mark. Once again a dad, like Taylor’s dad on the pheasant hunt, expressed his disappointment at not getting the deer. But like Taylor and his friend, the young boy couldn’t have been happier, after all, he was finally hunting with his dad.
I’m writing this post on the day that would have been my dad’s 90th birthday. Dad left us many years back, but I well remember that first hunt some 55 years ago. I don’t remember what songs were on the radio, but I cherish the memory of that missed buck, the scratchy sounding music and the warm comfort I felt when I first went hunting with Daddy.
Be safe and good shooting.