Father, son and sagebrush
Jess Shut Up
I had a great weekend. Opening day of hunting season and a long overdue time spent with my stepson. Great conversation, teachable moments and the realization that a little boy had become a man sometime over the last few hunting trips were the bulk of the weekend wrapped into a neat little package. No deer as of writing this, but I know I was not the only father and son duo that conquered the sage-filled hills of Coulee Country in search of the elusive third point.
Anyone who has hunted at all knows how difficult hunting in the desert terrain around here is. The deer usually see you long before you see them, and the rugged hills with cactus, deep fingers and coyotes (possibly wolves) running off and eating everything for miles makes the trips extreme. The rain was a two-edged sword this year. It kept some hunters at home but it also kept the monster bucks, or all bucks, well hidden. At least it wasn’t dry this year; the wetness allowed you to sneak a little and follow fresh tracks. But alas, the trip is not about killing something; it is about the time spent with a son or daughter (Olivia and Haley, hunting divas) or friends and family. “Valuable time together that I would not trade for anything.”
Like my cousin Cory. He and his dad have been hunting hard for the last few years together. This year they added another father/son venison-seeker gang to the mix. All spending time together in that truck or blind. Or walking over miles of mule deer trails. That is where the true bonding occurs. If you get a deer, well, that is just a bonus.
The true value of this trip is each other. Learning, telling stories, admitting things never told before, and growing up in each other’s eyes is the passion-laced event about going to the top of the next ridge and seeing what is hiding on the other side. Yes, there might be an elusive third point, but the journey getting there is the real reward.
There are lessons learned here too. Sight in your gun before going out, don’t track mud into the camper, know the area, and bring toilet paper. But the real lessons are sometimes never even spoken. Spending time together feels good. It is needed for our souls. Sometimes just sitting in a truck watching a ridgeline with rain pouring down outside is the best experience a child can ever have. It is pretty good for the daddy too. Good luck, father-and-kid hunting duos out there. Don’t give up, there is always the next ridge and the next trip.