After deciding where to go for our yearly hunting trip, three friends and I traveled to Montana to seek out its white tailed deer. The four of us hunkered down at a deer camp, meeting several other hunters who were also there for the same purpose. After hunting all day, we settled in to the communal cabin to eat an overcooked (but fresh) venison steak, unconcerned about our blood-stained hands and dirty fingernails.
After the first beer had been cracked, the group started talking about the best and worst things that have happened to them while hunting. Some of the stories shared were lighthearted and funny while others were jaw-dropping and thrilling. My companions talked about the quiet solitude of the Montana wilderness, the proximity of a black bear scratching its back against the trunk of a tree while hunched down behind a deer blind, and the fight witnessed between two bucks as their antlers clashed together, breaking the silence of the otherwise peaceful forest. This time at the end of the day gave us pause as we thought about our most memorable moments afield. It forced us to slow down and consider what we found meaningful while out in the woods. We learned surprising new things about each other, and it helped us appreciate those moments only experienced by ourselves and our fellow hunters.
After that trip to Montana, I keep this “best and worst” tradition alive on all my hunting trips. Other hunters love it because we’re all alike in that one, simple way: we all love stories. These are tales we can share and pass along anywhere at any time, and what better place to start than around a pot of fresh deer meat killed earlier that same day.
-As told to Gerber by Pete, Hawaii