When you ask a hunter, regardless of the game, what their favorite part of hunting is, you get a large list with a variety of answers. Some will say the peace of the woods. Some will say the thrill of the hunt. Others will say the payoff of hard work, practice, discipline, and patience. These items will be on ALMOST every list. But, the NUMBER ONE THING every hunter says, is to the effect of “the time and memories spent with the people we hunt with.”
When I started hunting around 11 years ago, I went with my uncle to my opening day of bow season. At the time, we stayed at a local bed and breakfast that really supported hunters in the fall. They had a small bunk house with 3 rooms, nothing fancy, but the bare necessities. Me and my uncle, and a few other regulars were always the ones on opening day. My uncle had been hunting there for DECADES. The kids of some of the guys he once hunted with, were now dads themselves, grizzled outdoors veterans, teaching me, the next generation.
The days were great, walking our separate ways across the hundreds of acres we were able to hunt. We all had money spots, “Ambush Alley”, “Ruby Ridge”, “The Swamp.” Year over years these guys made this land a second home. They had stands in trees their dads hunted. My uncle had stands upon stands, some still up, some you could just see the echoes of the past, a few holes where the climber was digging in a decade ago, or just a set of 2x4s that were once the way up to a nice stand. I loved being out there.
But the best part of those trips, were the night times. Our opening day eve tradition, we would head to a local sports bar, grab a few drinks and some ridiculously good hot wings. We would eat till we couldn’t breathe, and head back to the bunk house and have a few drinks. We would catch up on our lives outside of the woods. Birthdays, jobs, kids, etc. We would reminisce about the hunts of yesteryear. We would toss on a great Mel Brooks movie or old John Wayne western into the VHS Player attached to a tiny tube tv. We would laugh and relax. The sounds, the smells, the memories. THAT is what hunting was to me.
This year, 2020, is our first year since the B&B closed its doors. The more and more we inch closer to opening day, the more and more it hurt to know we won’t be making more of those memories. We have all gone our separate ways, to different parts of the state, even the country, and that old bunk house won’t be there this year to bring us together. The sadness I feel, the sadness I hear in my uncle’s voice when he talks about it, truly reinforces what hunting is. It isn’t the trophy, the harvest, the meat. It isn’t the peace of the woods, the thrill of the hunt. Hunting, to me, and to many, is about the memories, the traditions. The laughs, tears, sounds, smells, of the HUNT CAMP.
This is why we do what we do here at Out Back Buck Shack. We don’t knock these things, but it isn’t about the high fence hunts, the thousands of dollars guided hunts for monsters. We all dream of it, and some of us will experience it, but the real soul of what we do, is based around the everyday guys. The blue collared, up before the sun, dirty rough hands, faded old t-shirt, everyday hunter. We are plumbers, electricians, veterans, nurses, doctors, salesmen, etc. We live to love, and we love to hunt. We are where Friends, Family, and the Great Outdoors meet.
Good luck in the 2020-2021 season and don’t forget to tag us on social media when you post your trophies, or just pictures of the memories made around the campfire! @OutBackBuckShack