It's not long now until Brandi and I head to Pennsylvania. Back to the land of snow and Hicks. For those of you who don't know, a Hick is the northern version of a Red Neck. I grew up in the middle of Hick Land where my family (including me) would be considered Hicks. As the picture shows we are typical PA hunters.
Let me talk more about this image. First of all, if I've offended anyone by the killing of a defenseless animal, tough. I started my venture into hunting way back when I was about 9 or 10. I can remember going Dove hunting with my Brother Todd and my neighbor Joe. They would let me shoot corn of the stalks with a single barrel/single shot 20 gauge. I took my Pennsylvania Game Commission hunters safety test when I was 12 and began hunting the same year.
It is amazing how things have changed in 24 years. Back when I was younger, my Dad took good care of me by gutting my deer and then watching me drag a deer that weighed about 20 pounds less than I did. My Dad also watched out for me and my brother's welfare by keeping us outfitted in the best gear money could buy. Yep... Remember the green boots that you could buy at K-Mart with the synthetic yellow fur? Those were my hunting boots for the first two years of hunting. Imagine standing in 8 inches of snow with a plastic bag around your foot and nothing else - that is what it felt like wearing those boots. My brother and I have a plan that when my Dad dies, we will cremate him and store his ashes in a green rubber boot so he will be eternally cold as we were those years of hunting. Oh, and lets not forget gloves. Of course my brother and I wanted the Gore-Tex Thinsulate gloves that made your hands dry and toasty warm. Nope! We got cotton gloves with little rubber dots all over them. I must say, they did grip well.
Now that I can buy my own gear (OK, my wife buys it for me) I go for the adequate gear and my Dad gets my hand-me-downs. I tend to think he enjoys my extravagant tastes. And now that my Dad is old, my brother and I have to take care of him. We carry him in and carry him out of the woods. We give him a radio so he can be in constant contact with us. And he doesn't take the word CONSTANT lightly. We walk the woods and push deer his way. And on the rare occasion when he shoots a deer, we drag it out of the woods for him (as the picture above shows).
In all seriousness, I've felt (and I know my brother feels the same) extremely lucky to have a father that took me hunting. Contrary to what I've written above, Dad has taken great care of us and continues to do so. He will also out-walk almost everyone in our hunting crew - except my brother, who I call the Mountain Goat. I call him the Mountain Goat for two reasons: 1. He can climb a mountain like no other, and 2. he smells like one.
So this year will be like all the others. My dad will complain that I'm procrastinating getting my hunting gear ready. My brother will pass gas and not roll the windows down. Our hunting buddy Brian will order a pizza while in his stand. Our buddy Greg will likely miss a dear because that is just the way it is (we call him shaky). My brother will hunt until he can't see his hand in front of his face. When asked where we should go next, I will always say "we could go home." And I will enjoy the time hunting with my family and not take if for granted. Regardless if I bag a deer, the experience will better than most could imagine.