Our lifestyle is not by accident. We come from a long line of sportsmen. I guess you could say it’s genetic. My grandparents moved to the White River Valley in the 1950s. In tow was their young son who always dreamed of living in the mountains. His wish came true and the rest of his childhood years were spent exploring the woods. Hunting, fishing, camping—falling in love with the great outdoors.
I grew up a child of the woods too. Some of my fondest childhood memories are tagging along with my dad archery hunting, long before I could hunt myself. I loved the challenge of being quiet and getting as close as possible to animals. Observing wild animals in their own habitat made such a positive impression on me. Seeing two bull elk, horns locked together fighting, a doe and fawn tentatively making their way to water, a squirrel dropping pine cones out of a tree or coming face to face with skunk on a dark trail are experiences that are not easily
explained, just felt and never forgotten.
I wanted to be a sportsman just like dad. In the off season, my dad and I had an ongoing archery competition, held each evening in the hay shed, where we took turns trying to hit the bullseye on a paper plate, whoever shot better each evening would get a dollar. I’d gather bottles and cans to shoot with my open sight .22 at the dump or test my aim with my slingshot and gravel chunks. Because I was so young, it came naturally and my love for hunting was forever engrained.
My husband and I met hunting. Our mutual love and respect for the outdoors is the foundation of our relationship. I love our ability to understand each other’s intentions, in silence, while hunting. Allowing the wild game to direct us, we have shared some remarkable moments in the outdoors.
At almost eight months pregnant with our first child, I shot a nice bull during archery season. I wore a heart rate monitor, trying my best to stay in a safe rate for the baby. After I shot that bull, it took a few moments for me to check my heart rate, it was sky high. No wonder the poor baby likes to hunt, it’s in his blood!
Our children got their own .22 rifles when they were 5 and
6 years old. Endless hours have been spent teaching them hunting safety, etiquette and conservation. As all traditions demand, if it’s going to be a way of life, you start early and perfect the sport with repetition.
They are young, but I can see their passion for the woods is growing. They follow us along game trails and wait for animals to come to water. Watching them discover their surroundings is magical. I can only hope that they will embrace the outdoors as much as I do and want to carry those experiences on to their children.
We, as sportsmen, are theones who can preserve this lifestyle for future generations, please share your love for the outdoors with someone this season!
Photos/article courtesy of Suzan Pelloni.