Monday, November 30, 2009

Annie get yer gun!

The first day of rifle deer season is upon us here in the laurel highlands of Pennsylvania!

Or as my father has been known to quip ‘The high holy day for hunters.’ My dad is quite a quipster let me tell you!

Now before we get into this entry I`d like to take a minute to address something if y`all don`t mind? Generally my goal with this blog is to try to entertain by showing the humor in our day to days, and the downright funny things we experience with a small farm and its critters. I tend to shy away from controversial subjects when I blog because frankly in this day and age I feel we all appreciate some levity and a few chuckles.

I know hunting is a HIGHLY controversial matter with strong supporters on both sides.

I also am a hunter (albeit not a great one) as is my husband and now our daughter. Hunting is part of our lifestyle. It provides us with food for our freezer. It teaches our children the importance of stewardship and ethics. It passes on a gentle kind of education of our state flora and fauna that a textbook just cannot.

But perhaps most importantly it enables mentors… be they uncles, aunts, family friends, grandfathers, elder brothers or parents to spend TIME with a child as they pass along those valuable life lessons surrounded by nature. Time without texting or video games or a television running. I think they call it quality time and it`s something many in the younger generation are sadly denied due to the hectic lifestyles many live.

Hunting is a part of who we are. If this entry should offend anyone I do offer my apologies but hunting for us is a cherished way of life and this blog IS about our lives on the hillside. Please feel free to skip over this entry if it isn`t your cuppa with my blessings, yet do come back! I`d miss your company if you stayed away too long!

Okay now that I have that taken care of I`ll dive into this entry. (Finally huh?)

Once our daughter turned twelve she was old enough to take the hunter safety class our game commission dictates any would-be junior hunter attend. I am firmly behind this concept for education about firearms is crucial for a novice hunter as is the maturity of the requirement age.

When I decided to take up hunting after spending years as a hunting widow (I bet a few of you ladies can relate) I attended the classes myself. As an adult our game laws didn`t demand my attendance but I felt the more knowledge the better! The classes run on average three nights and last roughly four hours each night. I think I was the only adult in my class several years ago save for the W.C.O. `s (Wildlife Conservation Officers) that taught the class! Talk about a fish out of her middle-aged waters!

But I enjoyed the experience and learned a great deal about trapping, archery, gun handling and safety in the field as did Miss Yodeling when she and her father went to her classes in early September of this year. Despite my husband`s many years of hunting experience he did learn a few things and got to spend time with our girl to boot!

Monday morning here in PA dawned damply. Perhaps dawn is a misnomer… pre-dawned is more accurate since the alarm rang at four-thirty. Mr. Yodeling and I are used to this wake-up time but our child is not.

Poor man.

Having to deal with twin zombie-type females. She did roll out rather quickly though considering the time and darkness outside the windows. She downed her bowl of cereal and the two commenced the ritual of getting ready to go hunting. For anyone who hasn`t experienced this ritual it goes something like this…

“Okay, where did I put the shells?”

“I can`t get this boot up!”

“Now where did I put my gloves?!”

“Ouch! This blaze orange stocking cap is catching on my earrings!”

“Wife! (Substitute your name of course) Where did you put my hunting license?”

“Mom? (This title is universal so no substitutions are required) Do you know if Super Hero Squad is on tonight?”

And so on….

Finally they completed the ritual and were all ready to head out into the rain showers and climb the mountain across the creek. I gave them both a wave and a guttural mutter of ‘brains’ as they went out the front door, rifles in hand, to track the elusive white-tail. I had a doctor`s appointment at eight for a yearly lady check-up so I trundled about and did chores then set off for town in the gentle yet chilly November rain.

As of this time which is dinnertime for we yodeling goatherders, my daughter has returned home empty handed and more than a wee bit damp around her collar. Although she may have struck out in putting some venison in our freezer on THIS excursion the time spent sitting side by side and talking of things that only a dad and daughter talk about I`m sure make up for the lack of back strap.

There truly are some things that money can`t buy.


small farm girl said...

I completely understand the ritual of getting ready for hunting. But, usually after you get all dressed up, you have to use the bathroom. lol. Tell your daughter to hang in there. Nothing like the first deer.


houndstooth said...

My understanding as the daughter of a hunter who wasn't taken to deer camp is that the comaraderie and time together is more important than actually getting game. My bet is the Miss Yodeling probably would have turned up her pert nose if she had gotten something, as that would mean she had to help clean it, which is another matter entirely! lol I hope she gets something eventually! I miss venison myself now that my dad no longer hunts much.

~Tonia said...

We all have been hunting at one time or another. My youngest daughter is the most into it. Her twin went some this year. My oldest has went to But she would rather be home in bed!Lol My youngest got a doe last year at 11 yrs old. We have a youth hunt for 10-18 yrs old with an adult that has taken the Hunters safety course and has tags. They arent required to take Hunters Safety till 16yrs old. I took it in Jr. High but didnt get to take the test. SO i took it a few years ago. My girls all 3 will take it even if they never hunt again. Its good things to know.
I think the key is teaching them what is ethical and what to hunt for also. Not just shoot the first thing they see!
It is also very good meat!! We only have a little bit this year. I dont know if my husband will get to go anymore this year or not. Our county isnt in the extended doe season but he can go to another county that is...
Great post and cute pics!!

Feral Female said...

I think you all have hit the nail on its head! The time spent hunting isn`t really about the game you bag but about the bonding that occurs as you wait.