Since I've been around for awhile now I decided to go back and tell about when I was younger and how I got started hunting and loving the outdoors. Although I was born a Yooper in upper Michigan we moved out into the woods of northern Wisconsin when I was 9 years old. My mom and dad both worked and at a very early age I was left by myself with no siblings, to run around with a single shot .22 hunting squirrels all day long. I remember working all summer on local dairy farms for a dollar an hour to save up and buy a bow for my first deer season. My dad never liked to rifle hunt back then due to the army of hunters that showed up from the city for the shorter gun season.
Many times my dad would have to work and he would simply drop me off on the trail near one of our tree stands and then head back to work while I climbed up and hunted till dark. I hunted for nearly a month that first year sitting over an apple pile in a huge old oak tree before things finally came together. My dad hunted as well that night but in another tree about a quarter mile away. It started off bad as after I climbed up into my tree I tried to tie on a string tracker to my broadhead and slipped with it and severely cut my finger on the old satellite heads we used. I remember I panicked a bit and stuck my thumb in my mouth which quickly filled up with blood, after a couple times of that I managed to get a glove on my hand and apply pressure and stop the bleeding a bit. I quickly climbed down from my tree and ran to my dad's stand for help. His solution was simply to cut a strip from his shirt and tie up my thumb tightly and ask if I was ready to keep hunting or go home. Since he didn't get to hunt much I figured I better shut up and get back to my tree and tough it out.
After getting settled again I was surprised after only a few minutes when what I thought was a doe walked out of the brush and began to feed on the apples. I got buck fever so bad and shook so hard I was unable to draw my Darton and managed to hook it on an oak limb and quickly scared the deer away. I sat there in despair for awhile but was soon rewarded when after about 15 more minutes the deer came wandering back in. This time I was able to get a shot off but made a very poorly placed shot. Once again I went to get my dad and after a nearly a two hour tracking job in the dark we were able to recover what turned aout to be a little button buck. It wasn't much but at the time it was the greatest day of my life.
It still amazes me all the safety rules we broke back then and still managed to live through it all. I would never even consider letting my kids do the things I did alone back then.
That night spawned a liflelong passion for hunting that continues to get stronger with every passing year.