This is a tribute to my Dad, who is gone from this world, but not my heart or my memory.
When my Dad died in 2010, it was just before deer hunting season. In fact, he was on some land that our family owned, (we called it the Ranch) doing some work and getting it ready for hunting on. He died when the tractor he was on, while mowing a certain spot got too close to a ledge and fell over and ended up landing on top of him. So he died just before hunting season, but not just any hunting season, but the one where I was to return to hunting with him. For a number of years before, I had kind of got out of the hunting spirit.
I would still go up with my Dad to the “Ranch” for the experience of being closer to nature and to be with him, I just would not hunt. Well, that changed the year before when one weekend that we were at the “Ranch” and my dad was deer hunting, I went hog hunting at one spot. I did not get anything, but seeing deer come in and just being out in the blind with nature made me want to get back into hunting overall. So I ended up doing all the things I needed to do so I could hunt seasonal animals, this included taking a hunter’s safety course that was needed in order to get a hunting license each year.
The year my day died was to be (and still was) my return to hunting, but also hunting with my dad. Suddenly, he was gone, killed in a tractor accident, while getting ready for that accession. So flash forward to a couple weeks into that year’s deer season, I was up at the “Ranch” with my dad’s friends/hunting buddies. Though at the time I was taking everything very well, I, obviously, looking back, was missing him terribly and was only hunting because I had put such effort into being able to and I felt that I had to do so.
Then one evening, as I went to go out to my hunting spot for whatever reason, I decided to hunt at the spot that was my dad’s favorite to hunt at. I heard that it was a good hunting spot that the deer go to, so I gave it a try. So I got set up in the hunting blind there and not an hour later, just right after the feeder went off, two deer came right out of the bush to the right of the feeder.
After I took the shot and got the doe (female deer); my dad’s friend who was with me that day came up from his hunting spot to help me with the deer. As he was taking a picture of me and my kill, he pointed out that me shooting my first deer since coming back to hunting at that spot was like having my dad with me again. A true gift from God that moment was.
And he was right; when and where and how that I got a successful hunt that day, did bring me closer to my dad. Ever since, whenever I have hunted I almost always hunt from the blind that my dad would hunt from. Not always, but every deer I have ever gotten over the years since then was from that spot.
When I am hunting nowadays, I am not only doing so to be with nature and reflect but to also be with my dad, oh and of course God who makes it possible. To me, hunting is and always will be about spending time with my dad. Even when I do not get a deer like what happened this last hunting season, I still feel like I have had a very successful hunt/s.
To my dad, thank you for all that you have given me in your life and beyond. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for loving me, and raising me, and just thank you for you being you. I miss you and I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!