And all of a sudden...it's here. Winter arrived in a blasting fury last night. After days of heavy rains, the mists slowly became snowflakes. The winds swooped down and brought with it a wet blanket of white.
Just in time for deer hunting. All three boys will be hunting this year for the first time. They have different concerns than I did at that age. One doesn't want to hunt weekends when other people are in the woods. One says he will only shoot a buck because he can't stand the thought of perhaps separating a doe from her fawn. The youngest wants to hunt birds more but is not going to pass up this chance to carry firearms.
The boys will go out one at a time with Clancy, my dad, or me. To be honest, I would rather shoot one of the deer that keeps eating the clover in my pasture. But the boys will go into the woods to aim at anonymous deer, if they see any.
Yesterday the road sides were swarming with a ridiculous number of deer. Then the storm hit and we haven't seen one since. No matter how many deer seem to be all around, hunting them is usually not just a piece of cake. It takes time, skill, patience, luck...whatever it is that challenges one most. These days, for me it takes will power. Getting frozen to the bone isn't as much fun as it used to be. Especially when putting a lamb in the freezer requires so little from the farmer the day of "harvest". Harvesting deer takes significantly more energy and time.
As strange as it is to say it...hunting is not about my comfort this year. It is about the boys and what I can do to help them have the chance at experiencing what our heritage has to share with them. My dad shared that with me and it's my turn to invest in them. One or more of them may decide they are not interested. My sister and I were both taught how to hunt deer. I was wild about it and Selena decided she liked fishing much better. The point is giving them the introduction to see if they like it. They don't have to. But like the way the fishing has turned out, they may discover they like learning the skills, putting food on the table, and even the excitement of achieving a goal that is not guaranteed.