Hunting tradition needs more kids
Springfield State Journal-Register
It’s been said that every deer camp needs a boy.
As the number of hunters continues to dwindle, deer camps need double handfuls of boys — and girls — to keep the hunting tradition alive.
At the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort, the hunting tradition that’s being passed down from one generation to the next is in pretty good shape.
There are a healthy number of young men at the cabin. When they take up residence during deer season, certain realities have to be taken into account.
The daily run to the grocery store may take a little longer. One growing boy can eat as much as two full-grown deer hunters, maybe three, especially if the boy has spent all day on deer drives.
In addition, the same boy who will polish off a staggering quantity of food at suppertime will be hungry again 90 minutes later. The doughnuts thought to be there for a quick breakfast may simply disappear before daylight.
The boys at the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort are well versed in the latest techniques and equipment. Unless you’ve just spent every day of the last two months browsing the aisles of major outdoor retailers, you will be out of your depth discussing hunting gear with any one of them.
Young hunters have uncluttered minds and are fully Internet capable. They can remember all the stuff about ballistics, muzzleloaders, rifled slug barrels, scopes, red-dot sights and camo patterns that has been pushed to the dark recesses of my memory — if it was ever there at all.
During the November deer season, I heard one of them whisper when I walked up on the porch, “He still shoots a gun with iron sights.”
I don’t know if the tone was hushed admiration for a highly skilled hunter or astonishment that someone could be so backward. Never ask a question you don’t really want the answer to. Who knows what they’d say if they found out that my Buck Knife is older than they are.
Out in the field, these boys have been taught well. They are safe and responsible hunters. They ask good questions and pay attention to the answers. Their insights are worth listening to. My experiences with them have taught me that they often see things clearly that I don’t see at all. They don’t overlook the obvious.
Somewhere down the road, the boys at the cabin will realize what their fathers and grandfathers already know: The biggest benefit that comes from hunting and having a deer cabin is building friendships that last a lifetime.
No matter what happens between deer seasons, when all the usual suspects are accounted for the night before opening day, everyone there will be among friends, and it will be as if no time has passed at all.
At the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort, both the young and the young at heart are friends for life. It doesn’t get any better than that.