After being pushed back because of bad weather, my annual trip down to Red Wing and Cannon Falls to wish landowners a Merry Christmas finally took place this morning.
I always enjoy the chance to visit landowners in person to give them a small gift (venison summer sausage) and let them know how much I appreciate being able to hunt on their land. What’s nice is that they are almost always home and not very busy at this time of year. That means I get to hand them their gift in person, and we actually have some time to talk.
I’m a little old-fashioned in that I prefer to talk to people in person and give them hand-written notes of thanks, rather than sending out an e-mail or mailing a typewritten letter. The way I see it, if I can take the time to drive down and hunt on their land, I can take the time to drive down and say thank you. I feel this kind of personal touch goes a long way toward maintaining a good relationship and, hopefully, securing hunting privileges for the future.
While on the road, I spotted numerous wild turkeys out scratching and scrounging for food. I watched a hen digging in a picked corn field, and marveled at how creatures like this find a way to fill their bellies. No matter how severe the winter, there always seems to be plenty of turkeys in the spring. In my mind, they are one tough critter. Hopefully, the deer will prove just as resilient and resourceful as the turkeys.
The most notable visit on this trip was the one I didn’t make. Just two days before Christmas, the home of Paul and Karen Doyle burned down. They have been very good to us over the years in letting myself, my kids, my friend, Bernie Schwab, and his kids hunt on their land. I feel bad about what happened, and have been praying for them since getting the news.
I am confident God will take care of them. The Doyles have let us and many others hunt on their land over the years, and I believe God will reward them for their generosity. Someone once said that you cannot outdo God in generosity. I think that’s true. I sure hope it is in this case.
In the meantime, I am glad that today’s rain melted at least some of the snow. That should make it easier for the wildlife to find food. I would like to see the deer and turkeys come through the winter in fine shape. That’s one of my wishes for 2011.