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Sammo_3888

Huntin trip with the Old Man.

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Father in laws...

Lots of us have them and they come in many forms. Some are feared, some tolerated, some are simply a walking talking scowling reminder that you're not ever gonna be good enough for his little girl.

Fred is none of these things. He's a man I love as though he was my own father. He doesn't have a mean bone in him, he always greets you with a huge smile and a 2 fingered handshake, a result of an unrelated table saw accident. He is very happily married to his wife Karin for more than 50 years and always appreciates the world around him and the awe of nature. However, at 89 years old, we face the fact that there are fewer and fewer days in his future.

Often he talked happily of his youth, hunting in Germany and after moving to Canada in the 1950's. He's hunted everything from birds to Moose but year after year his hunting buddies have ether stopped hunting or stopped breathing. Not knowing when it'll be his last season, we made the drive to Sault St Marie to see if we couldn't get some grouse.

Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-fredmaps-jpg

Fred couldn't wait. He had scouted with Karin, his wife of over 50 years a few tracks he'd had success with in years past, and broke out the old maps he had, some dated in the mid 70s.

We geared up the night before, Karin made sandwiches for the trip and brought the guns out to talk and discuss hunts of the past. I was eager to show him my newest addition, my Remington 870 12gauge. when he broke out his weapon of choice... A Remington 870 .410 caliber that he had bought in 1963

Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-shotguns-jpg

It would appear that this hunt would not only be our first together, but also the 50th anniversary of this gun's life with Fred. I've seen his records; for a guy who claimed to not be a very good shotgunner, he's often taken 25+ birds a year with this gun and he's gone more years than he hasn't. Potentially, his old .410 has 1000+ dead birds to its name so I hoped his gun could mentor mine as Fred would me on this trip.

I geared up in my Mossy Oak jacket and hunting vest, OAFA camo cap and gun.. Fred, Canvas vest, red shirt and dungarees. I gotta admit, I felt a little funny in all my fancy stuff while Fred wore what was comfy and worked. Generations, I guess.

Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-fredhunting-jpg

We set up the logging track he had chosen, I walked ahead as he said, while he walked behind. He said he'd probably walk 100-200m up the track then return to the car to sit but to take as long as I'd like.

Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-huntingtrack-jpg

As I walked, I'd turn back to see how Fred was doing. I'd see him take a few steps, stop, turn to the trees and smile at them as he looked them up and down. He worked as a Forestry scientist for the Ministry of Forestry for over 30 years and probably knew everything these trees had to say. As a city kid, I knew deciduous from conifer, but little else. He'd stop, listen with his weakening hearing for the grouse then take a few more steps to smile at another tree.

We walked a few tracks with little luck. Sometimes Fred would drop me off at the base of a gravel track then drive up the road and scout other potential logging trails for me to walk as his back was starting to get sore. I was resolute that I wouldn't let this trip end without a bird in hand. I took my time, slowed my steps and listened for what the trees would tell me, stopping to let nature return to her noises as I saw Fred do.

Eventually, deep down a track I heard something. I'm still not sure what it was, but it was to my right. I took a few steps off the track and flushed a bird. I didn't see it, but I saw the leaves that were disturbed by its takeoff. Following my ears, I patiently stopped, stepped and listened. Feeling the bird was making a ground escape and doubling back behind me I looked over my right shoulder to see him stop to look back at me before he made his escape over a small hill in the dirt. That was his last mistake. I quickly raised and pulled the trigger, collected my bird and slowly made my way back.

Fred was there with the car, eyes wide, smile ear to ear looking at my hands or any sign that I had a bird "I heard a shot! I heard a shot! was it you? Did you get one?" he said. I said nothing, but the smile on his face as I pulled the bird from my pouch on my my back will last me forever.

Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-samandbirdssmall-jpg *he took this pic when I returned

Thank you Fred, from your Son, I love you.

Sam

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Updated 10-05-2013 at 08:17 PM by Sammo_3888

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Categories
Hunting , General

Comments

  1. Outdoorsman's Avatar
    Sam that was an absolute pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  2. DEERHUNTER's Avatar
    Sam I agree with Outdoorsman, a pleasure to read. Cheers
  3. CBT's Avatar
    Great read thanks for sharing a wonderful story.
  4. Sammo_3888's Avatar
    Thanks fellas.. I tried to surprise the old man with a Moose & Hog trip but he doesn't think he's up for it with his back giving issues lately. However, he's getting shots to ease the pain, and said he's definitely in for some Grouse again.. so Its on in the fall...

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