This is me when I was a senior in high school. I’m standing with my dad (Norm) next to his six pointer he got in Lewiston Mi. It’s quite a story about how he shot this deer, but suffice it to say we (father and son) had one memorable trip. I have this mounted deer head in my “man cave” as my dad wanted me to have it, cause he knew what it meant to me. Two other deer heads, and a bear mount, were given to other brothers due to their participation in the hunt, when dad harvested each animal. My dad, my hero, my hunting buddy.
I was 31 years old when my dad passed away, and I have had hunting partners come and go. None has even come close to measuring up to my dad. Those first few years after he died we brothers (there are six of us) continued to hunt our old stomping grounds, but it just wasn’t the same. We even took our first Canadian bear hunt, which was one of the biggest fiasco’s I’ve ever been on. After several years of trying to be a cohesive hunting group, we just sort of drifted apart. Out of six brothers, Dean is the only one who has continued to hunt Lewiston.
So for the last 20 years or so I have jumped from one hunting partner to another. I still get in a hunt, here and there, with one of my brothers, but mostly I have to beat the bushes to find someone compatible to hunt with.
One year I could not find a bear hunting partner, and took a young guy, on recommendation from my son-in-law. Whew! What a mistake that was. This kid was a real dud! First day at camp he “totaled” my 4-wheeler, wouldn’t do any cooking or clean up, and I even checked the price to send him packing on a Greyhound bus. He only drove my truck for 2 miles before he fell asleep, and ran off the road! If I had not grabbed the wheel, I might not be writing this blog. We spoke not a word on the 500 mile drive home! Be careful when you choose a partner on someone else ‘s word.
I remember a time when I took a friend to a secret duck hunting pond, only to find this “friend” there with his buddy, next time I went out! About a month later, I ran into this same guy while rabbit hunting a farm, where I had taken him a week earlier. We had words that time, and have never hunted together again. When someone betrays your trust it’s like getting stabbed in the back!
Now that I’m retired it is hard to find someone who wants to hunt turkey in Nebraska, deer in Ohio, bear in Canada, or Caribou in Quebec. You just can’t take these kinds of expensive trips with just anybody. Guys that are still working usually save vacation time for family, or hunting trips close to home. Some of my old hunting buddies just don’t have the desire for “the hunt” anymore. I have 4 son-in-laws and a son, but 4/5ths of them don’t hunt, and Tony can only go occasionally.
So if you have a good partner, or two, hang on and enjoy their company. Art, from “Simply Outdoors” sent me an e-mail about his various family members that he hunts with. His brother Jeff is his chief partner, and they pretty much keep it in the family. Art’s dad was not a hunter, but other family members were, and now Art and Jeff share their love for the outdoors with their families. And that’s the way it should be!
There are a few other stories I could tell about botched trips, due to incompatible partners, but I’ll just end this now. I’m sure you get my drift. It’s important to share the hunt with a “kindred spirit”, and then you will have wonderful memories and not nightmares.