Never being much of a trophy hunter, I have always been more blessed by the camaraderie with loved ones and getting up close and personal with Creation than the promise of bragging rights. While my life’s priorities have drastically changed over the years, this has always been why I’ve enjoyed the hunting sport. Now don’t get me wrong, trophies on the wall can be a terrific reminder of the good times had on a particular trip. However, a successful trip matters little of what hangs, but what memories live on.
Our recent family hunting outing was a memorable adventure in many ways. We were fortunate to spend this trip with a wonderful family who we count among our dearest friends. Brandon and Carissa have three boys, two of which made the trip, and share the same age as our youngest two children – three and six. Building new memories with old friends is always something to look forward to, and look back upon with great anticipation and joy.
Brandon and I have seemed to always touch base now and then since our high school days, and have chased various types of game together over the years. Our last hunting trip together dates back to a time when we found ourselves committed to considerably less worthy causes than leading the beautiful families we are blessed with today. The hunt was for spring bear in Alberta, Canada. My dad picked Brandon and I up one day after my 2002 college graduation ceremony and the three of us shared a unique and wonderful trip.
Our most recent adventure found us traveling to my father’s Kansas hunting lodge, this time in separate vehicles toting many provisions and small people which we had not envisioned a dozen years prior. Brandon, his wife, and the two boys followed us to the lodge, and upon arrival, we promptly began unloading gear from both pickups. There was little surprise that from each of our rigs, identical Daisy Buck BB guns were extracted upon special request(s). We were reminded more than once by each of our 3 year-olds what kind of game these weapons were capable of harvesting.
There were several goals of the trip. My wife, Jaime, has been intrigued by the idea of hunting with a bow for several years, and wanted to sit in a stand herself this time around. Downing an animal was second, but distant goal to getting her close to some critters this year. For Brandon, bagging his first whitetail and turkey were goals for the freezer. Above all, this trip was a chance for both families to fellowship, give thanks, and reconnect. The summer had come and gone without us all spending at least a day together, and we were all looking forward to this weekend.
What a time we had in the matter of two days in Kansas. Meaningful and quality time spent with fallen, forgiven, and faithful adults experiencing life in similar timing. Heart-warming moments watching children explore, share, and pray together. Time spent alone in wonder of God’s great gifts. A long hunting story short: my good friend was able to sit twelve feet from a ten point buck, arrow his first whitetail doe, and bag his first turkey with his two youngest hunting partners by his side.
While no wall-hangers were harvested on the trip this time, the trip will rank as one of our family’s most memorable. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father for family, friends, and nature’s great gifts.