October 31, 2011 by saltdogsducttape
For the most part my hunting experiences have been solo adventures. My list of bird hunting buddies includes me, my dog and that’s pretty much it. Deer hunting has been equally solitary. I’ve met a few other bird hunters that I’ve gone out with, but no consistent partners. Only a small handful of my friends hunt and even though my siblings have started hunting, their experience level is similar to mine.
This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. I have a small list of people I can call for questions and I’ve read a lot of hunting books. I also think that being in the woods by myself has given me freedom to make some mistakes by myself or to notice things instead of having them pointed out to me. Hudson also works differently when other dogs or people are around and we’re still working on our own methodology.
Since I’ve been in Vermont I’ve picked up on some of the customs and traditions. Most of them I really like. Access to local food, the sense of community and the independent streak are all things I have come to appreciate. Local food is great, but there is no replacement for good Southern food (polenta is not grits and if one more person tells me it is so help me!).
Vermonters have a custom (some of them, I don’t want to speak for everyone) of referring to significant others as partners. For instance, instead of a husband introducing his wife, he introduces his partner. This isn’t anything shocking or ground breaking but I like it. Growing up we were taught that a marriage is a partnership between equal parts and I like the constant reminder of the equality that should be in these relationships.
I bring this up because it is becoming apparent to me that I have never gone hunting alone. I have never sat in a deer blind alone, come home with birds alone or been frustrated with a ”bad” day hunting alone (are any of the days that bad though). My partner, Adrienne, has been with me the whole way. When we met just over two years ago I had never hunted, I had never cleaned animal, to be honest I had never even worn a piece of camo. She has been completely supportive of my learning about and becoming a hunter (a completely selfless act, she’s a vegetarian). She takes care of the dogs and she listens to my stories. On days when I didn’t want to go hunt she encourages me get out in the woods.
One of these days I’ll have more hunting buddies. People to go to for hunting advice and compare hunting notes with. People who want to have some beers and talk about the best way to field dress a deer (not Adrienne’s favorite topic). One day I’ll have hunting buddies, but I already have a hunting partner, even when I’m in the woods alone.