Along The Trail 11-23-17

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For the last couple weeks, I’ve been on sort of a hiatus – my bride and I spent a week in the Florida panhandle eating too much seafood, enjoying the warm weather and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The past week I was camped out in the November woods chasing deer with my longbow and hoping for a mature buck. My results were mixed and I was fortunate to take a plump doe with an arrow and watch her tip over within sight.

I spent a great deal of my tree time reflecting on my blessings and how grateful I am, it is after all the season.

I have so much to be thankful for. An understanding wife, one that knows how connected I am to the outdoors, that she knows it’s hardwired in me, as much a part of me as my arms and legs. I have healthy, happy young adult kids that I couldn’t be more proud of and just recently, had the privilege to become the step-dad to two other great young adults. I have a wonderful family and caring, sincere friends that would be there for me in an instant. I have a job that allows me to cover my bills and put a little extra aside to enjoy life. I’m thankful for my health and all the opportunities that I’ve been given because I know that I truly don’t deserve any of them.

But, as is always the case during this time of year, when I’m hunting and thinking I find myself reminiscing about past hunts and the memories made with my kids and for that, I am grateful beyond words. You see, those memories will last a life time or at least as long as my mind is sound and I can remember. I have been blessed over the years to add to those memories and this year is no different.

Sunday afternoon, I was secreted in my hiding spot down in a dark holler that rarely sees sunlight and always stays cool and dark, but it offers shelter from the wind and the deer tend to use it for their bedding area. It was a perfect sit with my longbow. My 22 year old daughter was sitting a ridge over toting a 12 gauge and – as much as I had hoped for a buck to cross paths with me – I prayed a nice deer would head towards Olivia.

The afternoon turned to early evening and the shadows began to grow long. It had been a peaceful watch and no deer came my way. A few gray squirrels monkeyed around the Osage trees and some bird life chirped, but other than that, it had been quiet.

Just then, the boom of a shotgun rang out, close!

I knew it was the kiddo a few hundred yards away and a smile instantly hit me. “Did she get him? Did she miss?” immediately crossed my mind. I snapped my cell phone and made a quick call to her, but no answer. A few seconds later, Liv called back and I knew from her voice it was good, “Dad, I shot a good one!” she said.

I scurried down the tree and crossed the quarter mile to her spot. She had climbed up into the “doghouse” stand for the afternoon and was still in the stand when I got to her. With a grin from ear to ear, she recounted the buck’s path and where he had been and where he had fallen. She climbed down and we made the walk over to her deer, a beautiful, chunky 9-pointer that had came to rest next to an old hedge apple log. A sense of pride and gratitude came over me and that familiar lump in my throat. The smile of my daughter’s face said all that I needed to hear. Pure joy and a sense of accomplishment.

This kid has followed me through the woods since she was seven years old and has several deer under her belt and provided many meals and even more memorable moments. Now as a young lady, she still has that fire that burns during autumn to be out in the woods, that passion for it, a true hunter’s heart. A love for the pursuit as well as the animals we chase. I couldn’t be more happy for her and I know our pal Arthur was looking down from Above with a smile on his face too. Well done Olivia, you have proven yourself once again. Love ya.

– David Hewitt