Coming up short

December 16, 2008

Faith Outdoors

I had a lengthy conversation with my friend, Al, last night about deer hunting. He and his hunting party went down to southeastern Minnesota to take part in the B season, which ran from Nov. 22-30.

They have done well there the past couple of seasons and I was anticipating a good report again this year. But, it ended up being a tough hunt for them. They had some deer sightings, but missed on every shot. That leaves empty freezers this winter, except for a small amount of venison left over from last year.

I felt bad for them. No one enjoys the taste of venison more than Al and his family. In fact, they have a Christmas Day tradition of a venison meal. They’ll have some venison, but will have to add beef to feed everyone.

Fortunately, it was a good year of deer hunting for my family, so I offered Al some of the venison in my freezer. He quickly accepted, with the exchange to take place this weekend. I’m happy to help out. Truth is, we have plenty of venison in our freezer, to the point of having too much. So, I have a good reason to share.

Of course, I’m hoping that Al and his group will have a better year next year. However, Al is not sure his dad will join him. They had a longer walk than usual to their hunting spots — about a mile — and the trek took a lot out of him. They hunted on public land and their usual short cut across private land to their spot was cut off when the landowner decided this year not to let them cross.

This is a very unfortunate situation, but is symptomatic of a deeper problem of deteriorating relations between landowners and hunters leading to the elimination of access to private land. Frankly, I think a lot of the blame falls on hunters. I have seen and heard of many examples in recent years of hunters abusing their privileges and being jerks to both other hunters and even landowners. I don’t blame landowners for getting fed up with all of the hassles of letting people onto their land.

Yet, I wish there was a way to resolve Al’s access issue so that his dad can hunt. Being able to hunt with your dad is a fabulous experience and I continue to enjoy that luxury with my own father, who is now 87 and says he wants to hunt wild turkeys in Wisconsin with me again this year. For now, I will be content to help put a little venison on Al’s table.

, , , ,

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek