I come from a family of hunters. My whole life it was common in the fall and winter for my father to be gone early in the morning. Out in the woods or in a field or on the river hunting something. Or fishing. I come from a family of fishermen. I grew up dragging deer out of the woods and helping my brother butcher animals. We ate venison and squirrel and duck and goose and wild turkey. Whatever my father brought home. He shot a moose in the Yukon and we ate off of it for half the year. When I said I wanted to join them in my early twenties, my brother bought me a bow for my birthday. I had to field dress all the deer we got that year to practice. And we practiced shooting constantly. We went to the shooting range together to sight in our muzzle loader. I was going to be taught to hunt the right way. And I was going to learn to butcher a deer by myself. My survival skills are pretty good. Plus I like venison.
It is a family tradition to go hunting on Thanksgiving. Normally my brother posts up in the woods (or in a tree stand) and Dad, my nephew Gavin, my nephew Trenton, and I drive deer. And if Cliff shoots something, we work together to track and drag the deer together. This year my new husband got to join the crew. A week after our hunt, I got a call from my father, that my boss of nephew Trenton, had decided he wanted a hunt of his own. Cliff can have Thanksgiving, but Christmas would be his. For Christmas he made us all necklace of leather and old antlers to wear. And on December 26th we headed out in the woods together. My dad settled in with Trenton, ready to guide him if a deer came his way. I would love for their to be a fairy-tale ending, but the truth is that we walked away empty-handed. The does were all running to fast and the only deer that was close enough for him was a nice 8-10 point buck. This particular week, however, you are allowed to only shoot does. The main thing, though, is that we had fun. We had a little shooting contest afterwards and the whole morning was just pleasant.