As I prep and prepare for another opening morning. I can’t help but reflect and feel what hunting means to me.
From a young age, I remember my brother and dad hunting.
When it came to my turn for my dad to ask me if it was something I wanted to do, I remember it so vividly.
I had taken my hunter safety course the spring before in second grade. I remember my dad asking me and then going to school the following weeks reflecting on if I wanted to do it or not. I talked to my teachers about it and told them I had a conscience. Where I came up with the whole idea of a conscience I haven’t a clue.
The morning of youth season and my dad called for my brother to wake up to head to the hunting lease. My dad then called my name, and I was already laying awake in anticipation of what I should do next. None of my friends had hunted or even talked about it or went.
I went down in my brother’s hand-me-down camo where my mom was so sweet enough to have a special thermos full of hot chocolate for me ready to go. I still remember those feelings as core memories for life.
I killed my first deer with a slug in my single action 20-gauge break action. The feeling of walking up on that animal for the first time was a rush of emotions I felt. I will never forget eating the jerky of my first deer kill the way it made me feel seeing everything come full circle. From then on, I was hooked. Now, nearing my thirties I can’t help but shed some happy emotional tears as I gear up for this year’s season. My dad is getting older and helps me manage and get my stands hung the best he can.
At this point in life, I have hunted for so long I would consider myself a seasoned deer hunter. And it all stems from that little girl that was lucky enough for a door of opportunity. I had no idea what this life had in store for me. Things have changed and it’s bittersweet. My dad doesn’t go on my hunts, he’s not there to see every kill. He’s not at the bottom of the stairs waking me up before the morning’s hunt. Time changes everything but makes you reflect on where you came from.
I now eagerly take off work for this time of year. It’s amazing the memories hunting can provide.
Hunting has brought me so many connections and opportunities that I couldn’t imagine my life without it. It’s crazy what one decision in the second grade has given me. I have so many friends made from our love of hunting and our get-togethers involve going on hunting and fishing trips. It is so much more than killing something.
I am looking forward to the day when I wake my son up before daylight and have his thermos full of hot chocolate ready for his first hunt. I can’t wait to carry on traditions to my son through the gift of the outdoors and the open morning feels.