I was driving to my game last Friday, and it was snowing really hard.

I felt like I was moving in a snowy globe.

It made me sad (I am not a big fan of snow).  

I was thinking that I normally would see a pickup truck or two parked in every farm field. Every vehicle represents at least one hunter in the woods nearby, waiting for that trophy for their wall and the meat that comes with it.

But the snow and bitter wind had chased all of the men and women indoors for this late afternoon. Visibility would have made it difficult to see, and the conditions would have made it a miserable hunting experience.

I am not a hunter. I did not grow up in a family of hunters.

We are fishermen.

My claim to fame in hunting is limited to my teenage and college-age days on the Grossman family farm. On beautiful mid-summer days, I would take a lawn chair, a small cooler and my dad’s single-shot “22” and sit by the edge of the 8-acre field filled with soy beans and scan the edges for our mortal enemy—the groundhog.

I have no interest in hunting. I just don’t. That’s certainly not to say I am opposed to hunting. I understand that biological need to thin the herd, and I have enough friends and family members in my life to understand the thrill of the hunt.

I suppose, to a certain extent, fishing does offer a similar experience when you hit the lake in search of pike and muskies. Honestly, I don’t fish for those either. I fish to eat, so I am looking for bluegills and crappies to fill my basket, my freezer and eventually my plate.

I don’t know first-hand what it’s like to gear up, cover myself in human scent-concealing spray and march into the forest in search of a good deer to harvest. With my schedule in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Weekend so full of football and basketball games, I wouldn’t have time to hunt much even if it was in my DNA.

My sense is I wouldn’t be very good at it, because after two hours of sitting in a tree, by myself, with no real action to speak of, I would want to move to another tree in another field—hunting doesn’t work like that.

But that just means I appreciate all the more those who can do it. I appreciate their sense of adventure, patience, optimism and comradery.

Especially that last part.

There is a special bond that exists between hunters that doesn’t exist in a lot of other places. I believe that comes from the school of “it takes one to know one”. In other words, the only person who can really understand what it takes to hunt is someone else who hunts.

I will tell you that even though I am not a hunter, I do enjoy sitting at a table with a group of hunters and listening to their hunting stories—about the big one that wandered by that they never got a clean shot at, or the parade of does by the dozens that were followed by their prospective boyfriends, or the one they dropped on the spot will a single shot.

Those stories are fun to listen to, but the stories are not as much fun as watching the expressions on the faces of the storytellers.

Hunters are not all the same. Some are quiet, some are very outgoing. All love spending time in the woods when the chill is in the air and sun the sits lower in the southern sky.

I do have a wish when it comes to hunting. I have this strong desire to sit in a fence row or at the edge of the woods and call in a turkey for someone to shoot. In this dream, I am sitting a few feet from my hunting partner, working the stick and slate, hearing a giant male telling me he’s on his way to meet us.

Until then, I will live vicariously through all of you hunters—and gladly so.

Be safe, ladies and gentlemen. And if you find yourself with an extra roll of summer sausage in the fridge—the one that has a little cheddar mixed in—remember me.  

By the way, I still have that old single-shot “22”, and someday I will pass it along to my son as part of his heritage.