Do you have a
hunting story about your dad?
Please e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
also include a photograph.
My heart pounded and my hands shook as I reloaded my 50 cal. Knight. "I’m sure the shot was good," I whispered to myself, but if the truth were known I’m never 100% sure after the shot. That nagging second thought always manages to creep its way into my mind. Suddenly a loud report brought me back to the southern Indiana cedar thicket where I was posted. The familiar crash of a deer through the woods followed. The buck lopped up the hill to my left and stumbled. He recovered his balance and was gone just as quickly as he appeared. All right Dad! I climbed out of my stand and crept over to where my deer stood before Dad’s shot. Good blood marked the spot and a short blood trail revealed a fat December doe. As I reappeared from the thicket my dad met me. "Hey, you gotta an extra bullet?" "What?" "Yeah, I have all the powder I need but I left my lead at the truck." I handed a slug over and watched Dad reload as he replayed the events of his hunt. Well, I found my deer so let’s go recover yours. Side by side we walked to where I had last seen his deer. It took a little doing, but eventually we found blood and not far from there, his buck. As dad went back to his stand to retrieve his gear I took on the job of dragging the buck to the creek bottom. As I worked on the task, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the memorable times afield we have spent together over the years. Whether it was slipping on a busy fox squirrel on a sultry August evening, or taking the time to clean a mess of 4-inch bluegills, the man was always there for me. When it came to sharing his love of the outdoors, my father was a master! It was through these special moments afield that my dad often took the time to weave life skills into the fabric of our outdoor experience. As I sit here and type these words, I see the faces of two little kids wrapped in their picture frame on my desk. They are just waiting for my inscription upon their lives. What could humble a parent more than to know that they are responsible for shaping the lives of their little ones? I remain confident though. I know that I can influence, correct, and guide my little ones through that thicket we call life because of the faith I possess in my Maker and the example set by my dad and master guide in life. Thanks Dad!
My father got me
hunting and sat in a blind with my mom also. I fell in love with it fast
and took my first deer with a bow at age 9 or 10 (before I did with a
gun). I ran 3/4 of a mile to get my dad and tell him that I put an arrow
right where he showed me. He got the knife to gut it and when he got up to
the deer he picked it up, threw it over his shoulder, and said, "Boy, you
picked the hardest target in the woods" (she weighed about 50 lbs. with
guts still in her). He added, "But you drilled her; that's for sure." Then
he asked me to climb my ladder stand and show me where she was. I showed
him that it was a 25-yard shot and she went 10 yards before crashing. He
patted me on the back and said, "Now you learn to field dress." He carried
her to the creek and gave me the knife. He told me to stick it in and
bring the knife up. When I did, it was the most awful smell I ever
smelled. Then he said, "Well, now you know to not do it that way again."
We finished and washed her out in the creek, packed her back to the
garage, and hung her. Then I learned how to butcher. He did most of that
but showed me how to do it with precision. Ever since that day I have cut
almost all my deer and done so following Dad's instructions that are
embedded in my head: "Now hold this leg and pull that muscle. . . " The
traditions we hold, the time we spend, and the meat we enjoy is all thanks
to my dad for making the time to show me the way. The times will always be
with me even when dad is gone. I hope to have many years ahead of us. That
first deer was 20 years ago and is about as fresh as the memories we
shared over this past Thanksgiving weekend hunting. The time sure flies
but the memories last forever. Thanks Dad! Love, your son Jake!! . . .I
can't forget Mom. She played a part in all this but can't remember her
ever killing a deer. I believe she was there to get me to love this sport.
THANKS MOM AND DAD for showing me the way!!
By Bob Crossman
Everything my brother and I ever learned in the woods
was thanks to my dad. What I find remarkable about us is bowhunting was
not a way of life for anyone in our town, we lived in the suburbs bordering
the city of Boston. Skyscrapers and steel lined our sunset each
and every night. The first time my dad took us bowhunting was when we were
7 and 6 years old, in Barnard, Vermont. These woods were beautiful, unlike
any I had ever seen. Brick buildings were replaced with colorful maple,
elm, and green pines. Gone were the smell of airplanes and cars. My lungs
felt the cold taste of fresh clean air. As I climbed into my first
treestand, high in a pine tree, it was then that I became hooked on
bowhunting for life. The first deer I had ever seen didn’t take long to
visit the overgrown apple orchard we were watching that night, the doe
peeked around a pine tree with her body all rigid and foot stomping. How
could it miss my brother's swinging feet only twelve feet above? While I
was ready to hit my younger brother and yell at him to sit still, my dad’s
face had a big smile. The ensuing "miss" and my father's smile didn’t
register until I was a bit older and wiser. My dad is dedicated to
bowhunting and his family, often shooting at 6am just at sun up before he
leaves for work and we are awake. On many occasions, two half-asleep kids
would be outside shooting along with him. My dad would place apples on the
target and tell us to shoot like William Tell. Our neighbors thought we
were eccentric, shooting bows at 6am in a town where a quarter of an acre
of land was a luxury. Little did they know that this was the only time we
could shoot our bows with dad and we wouldn't miss it for the world. Our
first bow, a bear recurve, was shared by my brother and me until we were
11. It was on Christmas day in 1978 when we got our first compounds,
Jennings Star Jr’s. You couldn't find two kids with bigger smiles than us.
I can remember dancing around our family room holding those bows. To this
day, it is the one Christmas gift I remember most. Now, 31 years later,
bowhunting continues to be the one bond that my dad, brother, and I share.
I am 38 and have two kids of my own: Jake (8) and Lindsey (7). Both love
the outdoors and each have a bow of their own. You can find them shooting
with me at 3D shoots or in our own backyard. Just like when I was a kid,
they are the only ones they know that like to shoot a bow and go hunting
with dad. Thank you Dad for teaching me how to be a great father. You are
still the best mentor, father, and hunting buddy. I love you.
By Michael Spencer
Some of the most profound lessons in life are learned in some of the most unexpected places. And some of the most effective classrooms aren't really classrooms at all. At no time has this truth been more evident to me than when I recall my boyhood days hunting with my dad. I can honestly say that the most valuable lessons I received were discovered not on chalkboards, but in the primitive hollows of a deer blind. The lessons learned there as a small boy continue to serve me well in my adult life.
"One of the first lessons, Mike," my dad told me, "Is not to look for a deer when you are deer hunting." Of course, this seemed to make no sense at all and so I listened intently to figure out where he was headed with this. He continued, "If you spend your time looking for a deer, you'll miss most of them. Instead, look for an ear, or the white flag of a tail, or maybe a set of antlers. But don't waste your time looking for a deer."
Only hunters can fully appreciate the heavy dose of truth in my dad's words. This single lesson eventually proved to be the wisdom of Solomon, not only in the woods, but in all of life. I don't know if it was his intent or not, but hunting with dad taught me more about life than about deer hunting.
My dad took me out to the barn yard to target shoot with the .22 back when I was nine years old. I don't know if he knew what a bond he would create between the two of us. From that time forward, our interest in shooting and then hunting brought us closer together.
He was mainly a small game hunter back then. Dad took me hunting for squirrel, rabbit, pheasants, and varmints. As I grew older my interest turned to bowhunting for deer. As I practiced, my dad became interested in it as well and he joined me. I was thrilled! Now we've had many successful hunts together.
I'll always cherish the times we spent together. I always felt so lucky to be with him, following in his footsteps and I still do. Not only do we have the memories of our hunts, we have a father/son relationship that keeps getting better. I'm sure glad he took me along with him. I learned alot about hunting and fishing, but he also taught me through these times what I needed to know about being a man. I'll definitely pass these things on to my own sons so hopefully they'll follow in my footsteps as well.
The Lord has blessed me tremendously by giving me a dad who loved me so much that he ruined more than a few hunts of his own so that I could learn. I am grateful. I love you,
By Shawn Meyer
young boys, I looked up to my dad with awe and reverence. He had to be the
biggest, smartest, strongest man in the world. I loved to be with him no
matter where we were. My dad was a veterinarian and I particularly enjoyed
riding around with him on his farm calls. But hunting
and fishing with Dad was somehow even more special. I sometimes reminisce about
the first time Dad took me squirrel hunting. I can smell the smoke from his
cigar. I can hear the mosquitos. I can see the tree tops dance behind a leaping
fox squirrel. I remember his whispering voice, his hand on my knee. My dad
taught me that the best thing to do when you get in the squirrel woods is sit
down on a log and let things settle down, listen, and wait. I don’t do a lot of
squirrel hunting these days. But when I do I still do it Dad’s way. It works.
There’s something mysteriously wonderful about being in a woods. Put a kid in
that woods with a father he admires and you have a recipe for lasting memories.
These fond memories and many more have been in my head for 25 years and they’ll
be there until I die. Thanks Dad!
By David Troutman
I can remember when I was a kid about 10 years old and living in Montgomery, AL. It was 1978 and my dad used to go deer hunting with an Air Force buddy of his. I would marvel at the adventures my dad would share about. Whenever he returned from a hunt I always wondered about his experience and longed desperately to one day, accompany him to the woods.
Finally, he asked me if I wanted to join him and with triumphant excitement, I accepted Dad's offer! The night before the hunt, he went over with me about all that I needed to know. I didn't possess a firearm on this trip, but just the exciting opportunity of heading to the woods with dad was more than I could stand. All night long I wouldn't sleep a wink. Instead, I would anxiously leave my bed and trek to the kitchen to check out the stove clock, as it ticked ever-so-slowly away: 11:00, then 12:00, then 1:00, then 2:00, then 3:00, then 3:30 and (finally) 4:30AM. The time had arrived. It was time to get up!
I listened intently to hear for any rustling which might be coming from my parents bedroom. Within minutes, he came to my room and I was up and about in no time. We arrived at the check-in station and it was still dark. There we met up with my dad's buddy, Mr. Juvette. With many other hunters moving about sipping coffee and swapping stories, my Dad and Mr. Juvette prepared their strategy. Then dad turned to me and said, "Okay son, we're heading to the woods, follow me."
Once we got a ways down the old logging road, dad took out some sweet-smelling apple lure and put it on his clothes and mine, in an effort to mask our scent. As we rounded a big bend we could see from on high, a logged clearing about 400 yards away, just as lushly green as an emerald pasture, and in it, we could see 4-5 brown dots. It was a beautiful morning as the light fog was slowly lifting from the timbered forest to reveal a gorgeous blue sky. The sun rose up over the hillside and gave way to a beautiful orange hue, giving a radiant glow to the forest around us.
Dad brought his binoculars up to his eyes and confirmed, “Look son, there are several deer down there." I was about to burst with excitement! So, we detoured off of the logging road and set up on in a thick brush pile and waited. And waited. And waited. We were in that brush pile for what seemed like an eternity.
Finally, after several hours of seeing little to no movement, and a bit cold, we decided to head back to the car. We got in the car and started to drive down the gravel road back to the check-in station. Suddenly a beautiful doe leaped out in front of us, gracefully bounding from one road side bluff to the other. In a flash, she was gone.
Both of our hearts were pounding. It was the closest we came that morning to a deer and I almost feel as though I could have reached out and touched her in mid-flight. It was awesome! When we reached the check-in station, we found that Mr. Juvette was waiting there for us and had shot a nice doe that morning. There were several deer being checked in and I was mesmerized by these lifeless bodies, so beautiful and gorgeous, yet stuck in a forever trance which seemed to look right past me. Blood at the noses and mouths of a few deer was a reminder to me that hunting, in all of its splendid, adventurous spirit, does end a bit sadly for an animal.
That morning was a testament to the adventurous spirit I would later find in my adult life, as a bowhunter for deer. Whenever I take my harvest from God's creative hands, I don't consider it a lighthearted matter. These beautiful creatures have provided me with so much adventure through the years with friends, and now hopefully soon, with my own children. With food for the table, a learned skill to hone, excitement and anticipation for the next season, and great stories for years to come, taking a kid hunting will, no doubt, leave similar lasting impressions and heartfelt memories to those my father gave to me that morning.