The Happy Hunter Who Never Killed Anything
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The Happy Hunter Who Never Killed Anything
by Dan Blankenship
© 2008 Dan Blankenship
Trekking through wooded expanses, crawling between mocking cattails that are always reminding me of my failure, Iíve become a legendary figure down at Willow Slough Wildlife Area and all over Northwest Indiana. More than 10,000 acres of land and water, more than 200 attempts over the past 15 years, and Iíve yet to bag a single goose, duck, deer, dove, rabbit, squirrel, quail, ruffed grouse (not even sure what that is), pheasant, wild turkey, or a fish of any kind. The boys at the mill, theyíve got a running calendar to log my hunting failures. The local papers have interviewed me more than a few times. Other hunters have offered to surrogate hunt for me.
Now my inability to bring any taxidermists some business is not for lack of hard work. I subscribe to Field and Stream, Deer & Deer Hunting, Real Hunting, Bowhunt America, and Game and Hunting Magazines. Iíve taken shooting lessons and watch every show I can find about hunting and fishing. I might add that none of them mentioned the ruffed grouse. Iíve invested good money in a wide variety of guns, ammo, duck calls, fishing gear, and camouflage. With so much investment in time and money, and nothing to show for it, some might think Iím a fool. But I have my reasons for not seeking a new hobby.
Itís the thrill of the hunt that keeps me returning to a place where the animals and fish have always come out on top. Itís that dawn of a new day in a place untouched by bulldozers and concrete, a place where pine trees, elm trees, and maple trees are not lined up for landscaping decorum that warrants me risking the label of failure being permanently affixed to my name. I hunt and I fish so that I can understand more about my own character. My mom has always told me quitters never win and winners never quit. Good advice, but even mom managed to shoot three squirrels, two rabbits, and one pheasant before she was a teenager. ďThis game of life involves learning how to deal with failure,Ē she would always say.
Yesterday, a man at a gas station two miles north of Willow Slough asked me if I had any luck in the past year. When I told him I had, he replied, ďReally, you finally shot something?Ē
ďNo, didnít shoot anything. You asked me if I had any luck in the past year. And I consider myself lucky every year, lucky the animals arenít able to shoot back. Lord knows I wouldnít stand a chance.Ē
The man began laughing uncontrollably and repeated my words over and over as he made his way to his car.
I may never know what itís like to have a successful hunt, but I am convinced that the past 15 years have given me the patience, humility, and demeanor to be successful in the game of life.
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Oh.. sorry, almost forgot.. He is going on a long outing with a friend of his for several days now. I think he'd really, really like to shoot something. And I hope he does. But somehow, I think he'll find a lot of joy in it whether he does or not. As for me.. well, I'm learning by other means what it is you've learned via hunting. Hard lessons. But I don't believe we learn them as well when they come too easily to us. God bless you!
I must link a dear new friend of mine to your article. He went hunting a couple of weeks ago, but didn't get anything. When I asked about his outing later, he said he didn't kill anything, but that it sure was a nice evening just to be out there with nature. Nothing quite like it, in my opinion. Afterall.. "All creation testifies.." :) Sometimes, it's hard to see the beauty of the trees for the density of the forest. But if we'll stop for a minute........ I didn't miss the point. Thank you. This was good medicine!
Now, that is really funny.. Congratulations huter from Indiana. Wonderful writing Dan !!!!
Nice.......and I love the ending.I have a small farm with sheep, a pig, goats and chickens......the only thing I have ever been able to kill is an egg! God Bless.Elizabeth.
Oh, I am printing this one out to share with my hubby! totally awesome writing. I can relate - I have shot many (targets) The doe I had in my sights I wasn't sure if it was a good shot and, besides, she had two fawns with her. She was safe from me! 22 years now and nothing but a target. Love the hiking part though.
Congratulations, Dan! This story has been chosen to be highlighted on the Message Boards in the Cheering Section. You can see it by clicking here: FaithWriters Jewel Chest
Oh Dan! Poor you...the hunter who is an abject failure! I appreciate your tongue in cheek style and your humble attitude in recounting your hunting woes. Made me laugh...and it's not just because it's 1:00 AM. ( :