This fall, I took Brendan deer hunting for the first time. We’ve never hunted for small game together, and he’s never bow-hunted, so he’s skipped two stages of development I passed through on my way to firearms deer season. And it turns out we live in Minnesota’s shotgun zone — probably not such a big deal, given the range and accuracy of modern slug guns, but still, it feels somewhat foreign.
But worse still is the fact that Brendan has questions, and in the roughly 20 years since I last did any serious hunting — especially deer hunting — I feel as thought I’ve forgotten much of what I knew.
As a kid, I was an animal nut and hunted with my Dad all the time. I knew habitats, habits, and tracks, and what I didn’t know, Dad could teach me. I spent long hours alone in the woods in all sorts of weather. (I used to even enjoy late-season bow hunting — sitting still in a tree in a snowstorm waiting to ambush a deer with sharp sticks is its own kind of crazy, don’t you think?)
Today I know the basics; I’m safety-conscious and careful. And that’s a good start. But in my Second Third, I’ve got so much to relearn before I’m qualified to teach. Dad says it will come back to me. I hope so — without too many bonehead mistakes.