Monday, January 2, 2012

Companions

     It's not too often that you'll see me in the woods without an old friend of mine. He's just about as constant as the sunrise.We've known each other for 20 some odd years by now. Like me, he's a little rough around the edges, some frays here and there and nowhere near what he was in his younger days.His color has faded somewhat and a few permanent wrinkles show evidence of his time in the field. We've aged right along side each other and I have to admit, he has held his looks better than I have. He pops and his spine cracks when stretched or bent the wrong way, much like mine does when I hop out of bed on a cold morning...He's sort of a short, squatty, fire plug type and when I stop and think about it, so am I. Maybe we have grown to resemble each other over time. Regardless, neither one of us are going to win any awards for beauty or be seen on the catwalk anytime soon...

     He's right at home in the deer woods in October or late August hunting squirrels. He has an uncanny ability for blending in and on more than one hunt, I thought I had lost him in the undergrowth. The cold weather of rabbit season or an occasional duck hunt in January doesn't seem to phase him at all.  He's a warm and fuzzy sort of fella and never complains about the weather and he's always willing to try his best to help me stay warm.

     We've had lots of adventures together over the years. Chasing whitetails here at home and in Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri. He's accompanied me to Tennessee to hunt wild hogs. He was a constant fixture during my caribou hunt in Northern Quebec near Hudson Bay and he fit right in with the locals there. He even traveled to South Texas this past spring to stalk javalinas although the heat can get the best of him. He's shared a goose blind with me in North Dakota as we watched thousands of snow geese pile into a cut corn field. Yep, we've seen more than our fair share of action out there in the woods.

     A few years ago, my buddy and I became separated. Try as I might, I couldn't make contact with him. I checked all the spots we used to hang out. I looked in all the usual hiding places, but nothing. I was crushed and couldn't understand what had happened. Through a stroke of luck, we were reunited during a move I made a few years ago! What a relief! I had found my old friend and knew we had many more hunts in our future! We fit together like an old shoe or a well worn glove... 

     My old buddy has one more trait that I haven't found in anyone or anything else...he is a constant source of good luck in the woods. I'm normally not a superstitious type, but when he's with me, things seem to go well. When he's not, things tend to head South. Missed shots, blown opportunities, winded by deer...you name it. If it's bad and can happen in the woods, it will. Connect me with my old pal and something good is gonna take place. He has been with me on nearly every successful hunt that I've had and has seen me take my two largest deer, a beautiful caribou bull and two large hogs.Coincidence? Possibly...

"Radar" and fallen red oak.
     Maybe your good luck charm or old buddy is an old silver coin worn smooth by years of riding in your pocket. Maybe it's a favorite pair of socks or a tee shirt from 1987 that should've been pitched years ago. Maybe it's the old standby rabbit's foot. For me, it's the most awful looking, unattractive "radar" hat in the woods, but you'll never see me up here without him!