Recently I felt as if I‘ve lost the heart of my hunting. Unfortunately that statement is not far from the truth. My hunting partner Billy who I have hunted with for years has a heart condition and will need to have surgery. He will be unable to hunt this season due to his condition. His weekly presence on our Saturday hunting adventures has really taken on quit an important and enjoyable place in my son’s and my life. It is in my hopes and prayers that he experiences a quick, full and safe recovery.
I intend on dedicating this hunting season to him. I will make it a point to enjoy everyday of the hunt to the fullest, to approach each hunt with the excitement of a first time hunter, to observe every small detail of the woods while I am there and to take each shooting opportunity with good judgment.
I began hunting as a young man with my best friend Donald. We shared all of our outdoor adventures together and he introduced me to the full experience of hunting. Over the years we each got married, had children, and began working. During that time Donald fell away from hunting altogether.
When my friend stopped hunting I spent several years and seasons hunting alone. I enjoyed the woods so much it only felt natural for me to continue hunting and to carry on the tradition. During that time my bond with the outdoors seemed to solidify my love for the woods and my relationship with God.
After a few years Billy and I began hunting together. Our two hour drives to our hunting properties were always filled with such great conversation that the radio was never an option. Billy’s wisdom always impressed me with his great ideas and viewpoints. It was amazing how I adapted a lot of his ideas in my hunting and everyday life. Billy is blessed with the ability to truly enjoy nature. As other hunters would rush out of the woods at lunch time Billy would stroll slowly through the fields in search of arrow heads.
He would always find an arrow head or chipped stone. He would notice things that other hunters would often walk past without a thought. Our Saturday lunches at the truck were one of my most favorite times of the day. Billy always had a great story to tell or a good joke to share. He always seemed to bring a little extra to eat and is insistent to share what he has. His ability to offer help to anyone or share anything he has seems to be never ending.
The hunting stories he tells from the time he was growing up and with his dad have filled my mind with great reflections to pass on. Billy and I have been fortunate enough to share the experiences of some great harvests together. The memories of those events and days will always remind me of how fantastic it is to share the event with a great friend.
What has often impressed me about Billy is that with such a friendly and helpful personality he always seemed to be made of steel. Carrying things, building things, cutting shooting lanes and dragging out deer. His energy and strength always seemed endless and I have often wondered where it came from. I don’t think they build many true men of steel anymore but Billy is one of them. As you have already guessed by my story I strongly admire him and hope that I can pass on the same qualities to other people that he has shown to me.
The bonds we make in hunting and sharing the outdoors are far greater than most people realize. The experiences in nature have always left a permanent trace on my mind and soul. I feel sorry for people who don’t understand the full experience of hunting and its enjoyment. It can be a spiritual experience as it affects all your senses while enjoying the gifts of nature.
From the millions of sounds in the forest and the fields, to the changes of images in scenery caused by the days advance, the physical feelings of the changing weather and last but not least the gift and joy of a harvest. What could affect your senses so greatly? Take the time to experience the outdoors and add to it by sharing it with a good friend. It will make the memories last forever and the ability to pass the stories on to others will leave a trace in time.
Hampton Brewer AKA VAOUTDOORSMAN