Is there really a better time of year than autumn? I think not! Despite all that is currently going on in the world, there's one thing that brings us all together, and that is good company, good food and sharing memories with those closest to us— both of successful hunts, and hunts that have gone comically wrong. Sharing those memories with your family will help ensure that they’ll want to keep making them for decades to come.
Your inspirational (and humorous) outdoor memories don’t have to be the stuff of tall tales to become a legend in your family. Take, for example, a rather eventful fishing trip I joined as a young child. I took away two very important pieces of knowledge. First, I learned to never leave an uneaten sandwich in my tent, because a hungry blackbird may see the bread and peck a hole in the tent window to get to it (thank goodness we were not in bear country, or that could have ended badly!)
Secondly, I learned that when you see waves begin to whitecap—even if you’re on a lake—get yourself to shore immediately. As we discovered, those whitecaps mean the weather is going to get a little rodeo. In our case, not even an hour later a tornado came through the campground, sparing our tent but dropping a tree on the trailer next to us! The value of these life lessons learned at a young age one weekend many, many years ago… priceless!
Another favorite story of mine happens to be one that was passed down from my own father. Back in the late 60s/early '70s, he happened to be out squirrel hunting with my Grandpa Bedel. Growing up in rural Indiana, there were always plenty of places to hunt. It being a small town, everyone knew each other. Early that morning, the Dad and Grandpa set out in hopes of coming home with a handful of squirrels each, since Grandma Bedel was surely to make some squirrel dumplings. They would sell the pelts to Sears and Roebuck's for some extra pocket change, too.
The hours passed, and Dad (who was very young) wandered away from Grandpa. This was no big deal… until it started to get dark as the sun began to set. My Grandpa Bedel spent quite some time yelling for his son but to no avail. The next thing you know the entire town had formed a search party! What is the point of this story? Because a basic of Hunter Education saved him: If you are ever in danger or lost in the woods, fire your gun three times in rapid succession, and this will signal to anyone in earshot of you where you are and that you need help.
As you can see, things may seem simple at the moment, even insignificant perhaps, but years later you’ll remember them with nostalgia and joy. Keep the tradition alive, pass down that knowledge of how to call in that wild game, tie that knot for your go-to fishing lure, build the perfect shelter. You never know how far that knowledge and those memories will carry.
Tradition and knowledge passed down generation from generation are what gives us “older folks" hope for the future. The generation that is now growing up in a world of electronics, internet and media galore must know what it was like to grow up in a world pre-internet, where things just seemed to happen at a little slower pace.
Lead image courtesy NSSF