Yesterday I went deer hunting with Youngest. He got to learn why it’s “hunting” not “bagging” because we came home with nothing.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. We came home with a bunch of great experiences and memories.
It wasn’t until maybe a year ago that Youngest expressed any interest in hunting. But since he did, I’ve been trying to make it happen. Finally, thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had an opportunity to take him out. Now, I’m doing the actual hunting and work here as Youngest doesn’t feel ready to do anything other than observe. But he wants to see what it’s all about.
We set off at an early hour. I swear I’ve never seen this kid so happy to wake up, not to mention wake up at 3:30 am! Obviously excited, and we set off. Over the hour drive there was much talking, asking and answering of questions, and getting ready for things. We get there, we set up the blind, and then we sit and wait.
I made it clear that there are no guarantees. That we could sit and wait and be bored out of our skulls, and have nothing to bring home. So he was prepared for that. Still, I really wanted to be able to bag a doe, as it was his first time out; it’d just help him see a lot of it all.
Alas, we saw almost nothing. We saw 3 does when we parked the truck, and we saw a very immature buck. That’s all we saw in our hours sitting out there. We even got tired of sitting and went on a stalk hunt for a while. Alas, nothing. It was very quiet.
But in that is where we were able to experience some neat things.
I told him that it is a little boring, but that’s ok. Take in what’s around you. There will be sounds, there will be things to see. Watching the sun come up itself is really cool. You never know what you might experience.
We saw movement behind some trees and thought “maybe a deer?” No… it wound up being a feral (house)cat. It was rather cute, and actually spotted us and stalked us for a while. :-)
We got to see a hawk. Numerous other birds. This one squirrel had no idea about us and was hopping straight at us — that was mighty cute.
But the coolest thing?
We heard a woodpecker. We found him atop a telephone/power pole that was maybe 50-60 yards from us. We thought he was rather large, but didn’t think much of it. We watch him for a long time.
Then he took flight.
GEEZ! He was huge! I mean, for a woodpecker. Imagine a really large crow. He was a big dude! We kept watching him when he landed on another tree, then eventually lost track of him. But it was quite cool. We didn’t realize how cool until we got home.
We determined it was a Pileated Woodpecker.
Here’s a video of one, which is a pretty good shot of what they look AND sound like:
What made this extraordinary is they are an East Texas bird. To find them where we were is a rare occurrence!
Frankly, that made our day! :-) We’ve spent more time talking and learning about the woodpecker than anything else.
And you see, that’s really what it was all about.
It’s about having time together, building memories, and doing fun things. Heck, the fact we didn’t take a deer? Just means we have to go out again — gee, darn the luck! Which means another opportunity have time together, build more memories, and do more fun things.
So you see, we could focus on what we don’t have – a deer in the freezer. But life is so much better because we focus on what we do have. :-)