After looking at all the pictures I have stored in my computer I decided to write a little bit about two very influential people in my life that are gone now. First and most impotantly is my grandfather. I use the word grandfather with respect as my true grandfather passed away when my mom was only seven years old. My grandmother remarried only shortly before I was born but you would never know that that man I called my grandfather was anything other than that. He never had any children of his own and you would never know there was no blood relation to the family he inherited.
My mom and dad both worked when I was growing up and I spent nearly every minute when I was not at shool or during summer vacation with him. Although he did hunt some it was not a passion for him like it was for me. But knowing that he did everything he could to help me along the way. We spent many hours driving old logging roads looking for grouse and new place to hunt or fish. I never did get a grouse with him but we tried many many times. We spent many hours sitting on the river banks all afternoon with our fishing poles waiting for the next big bite. Although he supported everything I did for some reason he was never right with me when I actually did kill something. But he was the first one I went to with my story and details of what happened. The first deer I took with a rifle was his old 30wcf that he had hunted with years before.
For some reason in the desire for bigger and better I didn't hunt with that rifle for another 30 years after that first time but I took good care of it and two years ago was able once again to harvest a deer with it in his memory. It was only a doe but it brought back a rush of memories as I fired and watched her fall from seventy yards away. My dad got wrapped up in the moment as well and hunted with the rifle for the rest of the year and he took a nice 4x4 with it as well. It's back in the safe now waiting for it's next adventure when the weather looks good enough to take it out.
He passed away in 1988 from heart problems but not a month goes by that something brings back good memories from back then. I don't have a picture scanned to post but the pictures in my mind are as sharp as ever.
The second person I would like to mention was a co-worker that helped get me a lot better informed about hunting in Colorado and also reloading my own shells. Joe was around 30 years older than me but we hit it off right away when our jobs put us together. We spent many summer days looking for prarie dogs in the western part of the state to try out our latest loads for my .223 or his .222 Thompson Center Contender. I tried to get some video of those times out but quickly realized he was doing all the shooting while I was trying to get it on film without very good results, I retired the camera and just joined in on the fun. We only big game hunted together a couple of times as I usually spent all that time with my dad, he drew a doe antelope tag up in 301 one year and asked me along to help spot for him. After a whole morning of blown stalks we finally got in range and he was able to put one down. the picture I'm posting is the only one I have of my friend. He retired in 2000 and purchased several new rifles and made big plans for a multi state varmint hunting adventure. Sadly within one month of retiring he was diagnosed with cancer and within 3 months he was gone.
I didn't write this as a downer of any kind but rather to remind everyone to relish and enjoy every minute that you can with your friends and family. My dad, my son and I hunt as often as we can and in as many different places as we can. I want my son to have far more great memories than I have of these great people and moments in his life. I don't think he really gets it now but in the future I'm sure he will appreciate it the way I do. Don't let a minute go by that you could be doing something you could enjoy.
On a brighter note I would like to include some of my favorite memories and pictures of my kids and the moments that bring a smile every time I think about it or look at them. My son and some of his first shooting experiences with a little chipmunk .22. A little buck I was able to take while sitting on a field edge while both the kids were with me sitting in the truck to stay warm. I had to leave them in the truck to go after the buck but they were able to watch and enjoy the whole stalk and show. And then a couple of pictures of my daughter in situations in nature that just demanded a picture.