Clearing the fog and starting a new chapter - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-13-2019, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Default Clearing the fog and starting a new chapter

Why Do They Leave?

You may remember that title from one of the Hunting and Shooting Magazines in 2018. The article explains most of the reasons that folks quit hunting. Not the least of which is the loss of a hunting partner.

I have been numb about hunting and shooting for the past two years, since the 2017 death of my 80 y.o., lifelong hunting and shooting mentor, which sucked the oxygen out of the room for me. Like a sucker punch in the gut, he was no longer there, and that pain has lasted a long time.

There would be no more 4 a.m. wake up calls at his house. No more cherished camaraderie. No more walkie talkie wake ups while on stand. No more, "Turkeys just flew off of the roost and are walking your way - get ready!" No more hearing his wit and wisdom that enriched me for so long. His compromised life with an insatiable and ever increasing OCPD (suffocating) was over. My selfishness was completely unprepared for his departure - by his own hand. My world was shattered. It has been hard and difficult, too soon for me, to say goodbye.

Surprisingly, the fog lifted as this deer haunting season approached. I got back in the seat of the tractor, bush hogged the fields and strips, sprayed herbicide on what remained, and prepared to rip them with the disk. The weather (rain, rain, and more rain) has NOT been kind. I have had to wait, wait, and wait to plow my wet fields after they were bush hogged in August.

Finally, Food Plots were seeded in late OCTOBER. Tree stand parts and pieces that had deteriorated from weather, corrosion, termites, and lack of use have been taken down and deposited at the county dump. Parts and pieces that were reusable are incorporated into refurbished stands. All leaning tree stands have been rebuilt. The sole platform stand is still being refurbished with new platform deck, new shooting rails, new roof, and new seat. The process of finishing the platform stand and adding drapes to refurbished stands continues today.

Shooting lanes have been cut. The rifle is ready. Rounds are ready. Hunting clothes and boots are ready. I am ready. It is STILL raining and the roads (and fields) are rutted. The WGF Sorghum, FL 405 Rye Grain Cereal, and White Ladino Clover seed has germinated. But not the soy beans, which were a bust. I have a complaint filed with the seed company about their 100#'s of soy beans. They are working with me in that.

Archery season has come and gone (I don't bow hunt), muzzle loading season too (I don't muzzle load either). Modern gun season for deer is already two and one half weeks of age in a minuscule 8 week total season. I have sat on stand a total of 2 hours (so far) to hunt. It felt good!

A lot has been accomplished in fair chase and safety. I hope the wildlife participates! The hogs usually do, in spite of the human scent, new paint, new wood, and when I quit beating and framing on tree stands in the woods.

A little success will go a long way in bringing me back to remembering Dave like we were in the "good old days".
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-13-2019, 08:12 AM
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Sounds like your honoring his spirit and healing yours. Now if you could find a young hunter to mentor that would be a full circle.

All of my favorite creatures have white bottoms.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-13-2019, 08:24 AM
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Good for you land_owner! I wish you nothing but great success!

My hunting buddy of 40 years passed away 2 years and 4 months ago. He once told me that if something happened to him then I had to kill enough stuff for the both of us. Ha! Well I have failed miserably at doing that but when on stand my mind wanders to all of the experiences that we shared and all of the stuff that he taught me. Like the art of reloading and working on my own guns etc. He was once a gunsmith at Roses gun shop here in town. He was 6'4" and 296 lbs of don't take any crap off of anybody.....and he never did. However under that disguise he had a big heart and would help anyone that truly needed help but scorned those looking for a handout. We hunted deer in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and killed a whole of pile prairie dogs at the Rose Bud Indian Reservation in SD.

40 years of memories built together and then it shut off like a switch. I could tell stories for weeks and I'm sure you could do the same. Just hunt in your buddies honor, smile while your doing it and shoot one for him!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-13-2019, 07:27 PM
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Remember the good times you shared and the many ways he enriched your life and give thanks for the time the two of you shared.

I agree with Lt - try to find someone to mentor. The mentored becomes the mentor!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-14-2019, 12:11 AM
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That many years with a mentor is quite a gift. I took up hunting 14 years ago and fell in love with it. I grew up in a non hunting household. I've had to learn most things on my own without a mentor so consider yourself lucky. I have mentored my 17 year old son since he was 5 and have had many fun hunts with him. Hopefully you will mentor someone in your friend's memory like he did for you.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-14-2019, 07:37 AM
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I can kind of relate. My dad had a severe stroke 16 years ago that ended his hunting career. Happy to still have him, but deer hunting just isn't the same. He was my trap shooting partner as well and I haven't touched a trap gun since.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-14-2019, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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A younger man of 50, the husband of a fellow associate before I retired, has hunted my place with a bow off and on for years. He is helping me in these rebuilding and food plotting exercises as he is able and has time off from work. I sincerely appreciate his effort, perspective, ingenuity, and perseverance when there are many other pursuits he could be following. He is a prolific hunter and fisherman, being on the water or in the woods and marshes for more than 200-days per year.

I plod along all week at about four hours of hard labor (for me) per stretch, then retire for the day to rest and recuperate. I say "hard labor" tongue-in-cheek as I spent most of my 40-year day-to-day business life sitting in a chair "driving" a computer. I am grateful for the days I have spent on my tractor. It is a wonderful piece of machinery that will out work me every day and twice on Sunday. There is something special about converting fallow ground into useful plants. I am thankful for farmers that do that for their living. I have learned a lot by Hobby Farming. It is HARD and isn't always fruitful.

Placing seed by the tried and true hand seeder over uneven terrain is a feature of food plotting that is for younger men, and takes me a several days to accomplish over 3.5 acres of plots. Perhaps a conversion of the golf cart to electric seeder is in my future...something to think about in that.

Dave used to supervise from the golf cart as he could not plod along without suffocating from OCPD. That was OK by me as he was there...period. I got him out of this house and into the woods where he wanted to be to shoot, to "supervise" the food plotting, and to hunt.

Riding in the golf cart as it is being used to pull a 10' piece of chain link fence while covering the seed is not always an "air cushion ride". Sometimes it means going airborne when a particularly large clod is encountered by the wheels while at full forward momentum. Dave just hung on for "dear life" and we laughed it off...at least I did. He never complained. It was all good when it was complete and could then be hunted around and over. We got a LOT of trigger time together on hogs mostly and a few deer.

It is satisfying to see the conversion from head high Johnson Grass, three years fallow, to manicured fields and strips of rye cereal grain, WGF sorghum, and clover. The soy beans failed completely. Turned to mush in the seed pods. I am working with the seed company for answers to that.







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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-14-2019, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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I meant to add that while sitting in the West Road tree stand "hunting" while renewing the camo covering yesterday morning, I was turned backward to the shooting lane, dinking with new camo netting covering the back window, momentarily turned back toward the shooting lane, and noticed a deer butt heading into the woods right to left that perhaps I could have shot (provided it was legal) had I been actively watching the road. "Getting the stand ready" to hunt is more like yesterday's sit rather than a "dedicated to the wildlife" hunt.

Six hen turkeys came out to feed off to the left of that stand and along with them 2 legal gobblers. I didn't want to shoot one or both of the gobblers with a 270, so they got a pass for another day. They will be back. They are in there EVERY day.

It is two weeks minus one day into the modern gun season for deer and turkeys and I am still "getting ready" to hunt. One more tree stand to place a camo drape in and I am 100%.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-23-2019, 08:08 AM
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we have two guys. A brother in law and a friend of the family that's ashes were sprinkled at camp. My fathers and mine will join them. We have two head stones on the path most of us take leaving camp and its tradition on the first morning to drop an empty rifle case by there markers. Landowner that friend is still with you every day you sit in your blind.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Unread 11-23-2019, 04:06 PM
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Land owner, your situation is very similar to mine. Only difference being I’m 5-6 years behind you.

Been hunting out of state now with 4 guys, this year they are 87, 77, 68, and 60. Sadly the first and last have thrown in the towel. The ramrod of the operation has finally shown signs of aging, didn’t think it was possible.

Mind you we are trying to inject new genes into the herd, but it’s darned tough to find the right fits. I look around and see I’m the obvious heir to the throne. I look around and see pretenders (“boy that looks like a good time I need to go out there”) who won’t save money or dedicate vacation time. Those who seem more interested in “how much beer can a horse carry” or “you sleep in tents?” and there is plain lazy.

I’ve gotta become a better salesman. It seems to be one of those young, dedicated, or financially capable, pick two from this list. I’m beginning to understand how I got myself into the bunch I’m with. They didn’t know me from sic’em, but I checked all those boxes.


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