The Good Old Days of Hunting

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Every one of us, from time to time, reminisce about the days when we were young, had no responsibility and perhaps, a stronger sense of family. Rabbit hunting was a tradition for us for many years, every Sunday afternoon during the season. The community I lived in had church service morning, afternoon and evening and most everyone attended all day. The young bucks would take the afternoon off from church and hunt rabbit and squirrel for the dinner the women would prepare for us at church as serving 2 meals per day for the whole church can get rather expensive.

My lifelong friend, Kurt, and I were always among the most successful. This was largely due to the fact that we were competitive and organized. That and my Dad’s farm was hard to beat for rabbit hunting!

After some time, we developed a system of communication and a method of travel in which we are still quite proud of. Out of the thousands of shots we took, no one was injured despite the thick brush and often, one of us crawling on our back or belly trying to flush rabbits from thick brambles. It’s important for other small game hunters to effectively communicate while in the field, often, we were quite loud and shouting constantly; but we were always aware of the other's position. This strategy is something I will teach my own son, but I think it becomes lost on many young Ohio hunters and they develop their skills without first learning safe brush-hunting techniques.

Often, our first spot was the water-way in the hay pasture behind my Dad’s house. We started on the south edge, dropping in to a shallow ditch in light cover and followed downward into a deep ravine with heavy cover that was terminated by the driveway to my uncle’s house. On more than one occasion, Kurt and I reached the driveway, a mere 150 yard stretch with both our limits of bunnies. On some days, the hunting was harder and we took turns wearing the giant Carhartt cover-alls with 2 sets of sweatpants and shirt underneath to push our way through the mass tangle of thick and sharp thorns. There were many times I wished I had a football helmet for that job, because you’d usually end up with a thorn in the neck or a pierced ear from the thorny brush.

If for some reason we hadn’t killed our limit at the end of our push, we headed to Kurt’s dad’s property and pushed their pine tree patch. On one unsuccessful day, we pushed 2 out of my dad’s and nothing out of Kurt’s dad’s property, but Kurt had a neighbor whose property looked to be the most fertile rabbit growing property in the county. We shied away from ever asking this man before, largely because he was awkward and distant with the habit of doing unusual things like cutting up road kill with chainsaws and storing its meat in 5-gallon buckets in his garage; then, after it sat a few days, stopping by to ask you if you needed any game meat.

We took the plunge and knocked on the door. The sight we were to behold scarred us both for some time. Imagine a tall, portly man who was considerably dirty from excessive contact with dirt and manure. Imagine this man, then remove his clothes down to his bodily fluid stained underwear and have this be the man that answers the knock on the door.

The next 30 minutes of our life is completely blank, I’m not entirely sure, but I think neither of us can fully remember what happened because we were in shock. In some dirt induced, brain wiping shock. But somehow, for some reason, we exited the less than ramshackle building called a house and proceeded directly to the briars behind Kurt’s property.

After our uncomfortable experience, we pushed the briars and let the pictures tell that story. When no other bunnies could be found, we hammered them, and provided the only rabbits anybody got that day to our church supper.

The farmer we got permission to hunt from never forgot the politeness we showed him that day, and in a fit of sanity he must have realized what an awkward moment that was. In turn, he later offered us a wagon load of potatoes to feed to our cattle. We politely accepted.

A big part of me is glad I moved from there, but I do miss the strong family and community I left behind, and I miss the "Family Night Suppers."

Comments

ManOfTheFall's picture

Sounds like alot of great

Sounds like alot of great times and great memories. I never really had any hunting partners until my children were old enough to hunt. But, when I began hunting I knocked out several squirrel and rabbits and provided many of meals for my family. I've pretty much have gotten away from that and just do deer hunting with the bow now. But this story brings back memories and maybe I can make a few more again and take on a few squirrel, rabbit, and grouse hunts this year. Thanks for sharing and rekindling an old fire.

deerhunter30's picture

Ya them were the good times

Ya them were the good times when there was no responsibility all you had to worry about was what you had going on at that moment.

My cousin and I would always go up to are grandmas farm in Illinoise and we would be out with are shotguns squirrl and rabbit hunting. The funny part about it was we were out there with shotguns that are parents had bought us and they sent us out into the field with them, I think we were very lucky kids.We were only about 14 years old at the time but I am still here so it all went well.

I am really glad that are parents gave us this opportunity because if they had not who knows if we would have ever became hunters. Are parents were always the outdoorsy type but they was not into hunting much. They got us into fishing and camping which had a big impact on us wanting to be in the woods so that helped alot too.

Our grandma died about 7 years ago and we have not been back to the farm ever since. I think it is better to just keep the good memories that we have now and hold on to them.

hunter25's picture

The memories from where we

The memories from where we grew up are strong and make me sometimes desire to go back at tleast for a week or two to hunt the old areas again. I mostly wandered around alone when I was a kid except for one friend on occasion. It almost scares me to look at my kids now and remember what my parents allowed me to do when I was only half their age. I have not gone home for over 20 years now as I think the memories will be better if I don't have to see how much things have changed in my old stomping grounds.