I have been surrounded by hunting and fishing since before I was born. My mom shot a deer when she was pregnant with me in the fall of 92. Seventeen years later, in the same spot, I shot my first buck. My parents used to take me out in a baby backpack when they would go fish. I grew up in a house where there were always deer and fish mounted on the walls. My mom was a taxidermist for a long time. I have always been very happily immersed in this world. I have even have taken it for granted at times, because it’s always just been my normal.
Last week a friend Way Up North (if you know, you know) sent me some pictures of some fish he’d been catching and asked if we would like to go. Of course I wanted to go! Fishing in general is something I love to do, but to be able to do it with the friends who are family is something extra special. So, yesterday, my dad and I packed up our stuff and went Way Up North to spend a day on the water. Fishing is always unpredictable and it’s never easy. If you were to ask me to dream up my perfect day of fishing, I probably would come up with something where every time I cast my line in the water, there was some sort of action.
Days like these typically live only in my imagination. Yesterday, for the first time, that became the reality. To say that we had a phenomenal day would be an understatement. The fishing, the weather, and most of all the company; it was all just perfect. No pictures did any of it justice. I’m sure everyone that I have talked to since then is sick of me talking about it and showing them pictures, but when you have a killer day on the water you can’t help but tell everyone and anyone about it!
On our way back to the house my dad and our friend were reminiscing about different things they’ve done together over the years. Different places they’ve hunted, the people they met, stories about different deer they shot, even one where my dad ended up with 3 treble hooks in the back of his neck. As they talked and laughed at the past, my dad brought something else up. He talked about how our friend’s dad, Chet, was the one that got him into hunting. My grandfather was a farmer, and hardly had any free time whatsoever, let alone the time to hunt and fish. Dad went on about how, had it not been for him, he wouldn’t be the hunter he is. As the conversation shifted and they went onto something else, I realized that if it hadn’t been for Chet, I wouldn’t have what I have today. The knowledge, the passion, and my love for the outdoors.
My dad always says “take a kid fishing”. Now I understand why. Chet was the one that took him under his wing, and helped him learn the ropes. If it wasn’t for Chet where would I be? My father, who has taken me into the woods and onto the water for as long as I can remember, would never have had the knowledge and skills that he has so willingly passed down to me. I also would not have the love of my Way up North family, whom I cherish so dearly. I don’t think that there is anything I can say or do to show my gratitude to Chet, because he has had such a big part in who I am and how I spend my time. I will tell you that I will never take my “normal” for granted ever again, and I will continue to try to encourage and educate anyone who wants to try hunting or fishing.
Share your passions with those around you. There’s nothing better than seeing the light in someone’s eyes as they get the hang of something new; watching it click. The excitement and the joy. Seeing that spark ignite into a flame. Whether it’s your kids, siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, cousins, nieces, nephews, or someone that you just met at the Rod n’ Gun club meeting. Share your wisdom and knowledge. Share the joy that you feel when you do what you love. It will have an effect on more lives than you could ever imagine, even ones beyond your time.