Tuesday, August 23, 2011
But without hunting buddies, the experience just wouldn't be as fulfilling. Part of what has always drawn me to upland hunting is the social experience -- it's not a solitary sport, unlike most other outdoor pursuits that require stillness (not my forte) while freezing one's ass off (also not my forte).
Whether it's the Patton-like strategy sessions before assaulting a field, or the debates over dog breeds or shotgun shell payloads, or the tendencies of the fairer sex, or the inside jokes, or the merciless teasing, or the slap-happy humor in a small-town bar or around a campfire -- they are are all a part of the experience for me. I suspect most uplanders are drawn to the sport for similar reasons.
These fraternal bonds are borne of shared passion, hard work, and a common experience. And given time, the friendships go far beyond the field. The photo of Jon and Wes posing proudly behind a limit of roosters was one of the first times we had hunted together, five years ago. Since then, I've stood with Jon at his wedding and Wes has literally given me the shirt off his back when I split my chin open (long story).
Dan and Terry were with me the day I had to put down my first-ever pointer, and they helped me through it like no one else ever could. Through open-heart surgeries, job changes, and only God knows what else, we've been there for one another.
I've been blessed with a great group of friends I've met in countless ways, but none are as close as the ones that I call my hunting buddies.
And when all is said and done, that's why I cannot wait for September to get here.