Thanksgiving holiday in the deer woods
Nov. 23, 2001
Thanksgiving is a time when families all around our country take off time from work to gather together. For many it is a time of food, fellowship and fun among friends and families alike. Many people also find that it is a time to take stock of what they have while giving thanks.
This year Thanksgiving will be even more meaningful to people of the United States of America. While nobody can forget what happened to our country on Sept. 11th, the very act of terrorism and destruction that was thrust upon us has turned our nation once again back to the basics of life. For many that translates into a love of God and country. We are experiencing a literal wave of patriotism, the likes never before seen in many of our younger generation's lifetimes.
Shortly after I climbed 30 feet up a tree in my climbing stand last Saturday afternoon, I was immersed in the beauty of nature. I had come to this quiet place in search of a big buck. However, the woods had come alive with all sorts of other creatures, everything but a buck.
Squirrels began cutting hickory nuts and acorns almost immediately after I settled down in the stand. They resembled tiny acrobats as they climbed and jumped from limb to limb. Every now again one would stop momentarily and munch on one of the tasty morsels.
The woods are my sanctuary this time of year. This year of course, I would think of my family and the coming holiday feast and time of thanksgiving. On this day my mind would wander back in time. Memories, of course, always portray less stressful times.
As a flock of turkeys began to feed my way just over the ridge, I sent out a series of yelps and lost calls. Quickly answering, they began to send out the familiar lost calls as well. As they approached, I toned down to light purrs and clucks with my natural voice. This time of year the calls will really carry and the turkeys are much less wary.
As they appeared from over the ridge my mind wandered back to the time that my grandfather Nolen and I had seen our first turkeys up on his old home place. As we made our way into the woods at daybreak, we startled a whole flock. With much squawking and flapping of wings they scared the daylights out of us.
Shortly after the birds appeared, I heard the bawl of an old beagle across the cutover. Closer and closer the dogs came. Just before they passed by they turned and headed straight to me. Suddenly an old doe burst out of the thicket and ran not more than 10 feet from my stand. She was only 100 yards or so in front of the dogs, which turned out to be a chow and a beagle.
As the woods once again grew silent, I was reminded of the many times I had been with my grandfather this time of year. Usually one if not both of us got a deer. Although he won't be with me this year, I am thankful for the many times we were together in the fall woods and the lessons that he taught me.
As I venture forth into the woods this weekend, I will remain thankful for having the chance to be an American and enjoy the bountiful blessings that have been provided us. And once again Pawpaw's old Remington 30-06 will remind me of the great sacrifice that he and many other Americans paid for us to have the freedom to enjoy our lives and experience the great outdoors. And who knows, I just might get that big buck that I've been looking for.