Robert called me about two weeks after I closed on the property. He’d been watching the place for months, he said. There are some big bucks running through there, right along the ditch line. Would it be okay if he hunted the property?
I was ecstatic. More than anything I wanted to own Land and now I did, enough land for someone to hunt on it. I’d get venison in exchange for giving him access, which fed into my homesteading dreams. But mostly, the call reawakened my lifelong fascination with hunting.
When I was a kid, maybe twelve of so, my dad rediscovered hunting. We were stationed in North Dakota, and much like the culture of his southern boyhood, it was rich in hunting tradition.
The ritual of going out before sunrise and sitting patiently waiting for the right moment and the right shot fascinated me. Would I be able to stand the cold, to stay still, to pull the trigger at the right moment? But my dad was of a generation that didn’t take their daughters hunting. So, as a consolation, I took to packing his shells the night before the big adventure.
The decades are stacking up on that twelve-year-old and, frankly, I don’t have the desire to answer those questions any more. But I understand the draw of being alone and quiet in nature. Of being focused and relaxed. Of hoping for that one beautiful shot but, if it doesn’t come, knowing that the hope is enough to bring you back the next weekend.
Robert and his son-in-law arrived late afternoon this past weekend. We hugged as it’s now our ritual at the start of the season. We talked briefly about his annual trip to Idaho, about work and family. They walked out of the woods a few hours later, bows over their shoulders, dragging an enormous doe.
It never ceases to amaze me at how fortunate I am to live in an area that is flush with seasons, and not simply the four that much of the world experiences. And to own Land, enough land to support a couple of tree stands and a lot of good hunting. I am blessed, a single woman, owning Land and living off of it. Not many in the world have such fortune and freedom.