I love to deer hunt. The sport has allowed me to experience some great memories, both high and low. But as I look back at the last 9 years, I can't help but wonder, how could those experiences have been better? More success? Bigger bucks on the wall? Maybe... but honestly, the one thing that would have made it better for me would be to have had someone to share it all with. I wish I had that special hunting partner that many guys have been lucky enough to have. My dad was, and still is, and avid outdoorsman, but he quit deer hunting several years before I was old enough to start. He hurt his shoulder one year and that was kind of the end. The "fire" had been out for awhile before that and the injury was the last straw. Now days, he helps me anytime I need it, whether its tracking or gutting a deer, or just talking about my hunts, which is great...after all he could have no interest at all. But I still feel like I am missing out. I never got to deer hunt with my dad.
Well now it is my turn. This past November, my butt wasn't parked in a treestand somewhere. It was parked in a hospital where my wife and I welcomed our little boy Jace into the world. Now I look into the future, wondering what memories we will make one day in the deer woods. Will he have those Father/Son experiences that I have missed? I hope so... But as I look at the future of deer hunting in my home state of Illinois, I wonder if I will ever get to make such memories. The herd size decreasing, private hunting ground becoming harder and harder to come by, public lands seeing more hunter pressure, rising costs of gas and gear, and finally the glamourization of trophy buck hunting, are concerning. If these trends continue what will the state of our sport be a decade from now? Will it even be enjoyable for my son? Will we be able to afford to do it? I hope we see some improvment somehow, because I want my son to be able to have the memories of deer hunting with dad.
If you have a great story about a hunt with your dad or child feel free to share. I bet you hold such memories near the top of your list.
My pursuit of a buck of a lifetime is much like the Chicago Cubs pursuit of a World Series...the season ends with a "wait til next year"