Great to hear readers’ hunting experiences

Published 6:05 am Friday, December 31, 2010

I sure hope everyone’s Christmas was as nice as mine was. Christmas is a special time of year.

I had one comment to my request in last week’s column. David Shelton wrote: “I couldn’t agree with your comments more about ‘who we are as people.’ I was still hunting in a blind last Wednesday in Isle of Wight County. The day was overcast, and around 4:30, the sun came out and illuminated the woods and the field. I remember thinking to myself, what a beautiful, peaceful scene, and at that very moment, thanking God for all of the wonderful things in life and giving me another day to experience them. I had a beautiful 6-point come out within 15 yards of the blind and never touched the gun. I live in Charlotte, N.C., so I don’t get to hunt that often in Virginia, but love just being out in nature. I grew up in Franklin, and my fondest childhood memories are fishing with my father on the Blackwater and Nottoway. I wish you the best with the article and for what it is worth, your article was a nice way to end a Christmas Day.”

Thank you, David.

I also had two comments posted to my column on The Tidewater News website. There still seems to be something lacking in my ability to communicate that I would not publish anything that is going to give away your favorite spots to hunt or fish. Neither am I asking to know it myself.

I know those things are shared with only family and very close friends and are protected. Just as in David’s words, I think we can all agree that “Isle of Wight County” is not going to give away his hunting spot now is it?

Those of you who may know him are probably already aware of what he has shared with me, and those of you who do not know him, good luck in tracking down this spot.

Besides, that is not what I was after anyway. I would prefer that we read the other part to his story. The part about what he thinks about—what was in his mind. What he is thankful for is the story that I was searching for.

So for anyone who enjoys my column, give me a line that tells me what you think about while you are spending time outdoors. E-mail it to

When I was very young, I would go down back to a tree that had two roots running out of it that formed a little cradle and I would take naps between those roots. This was my quiet spot.

When my 18-year-old daughter, Nicole, was very little, I would take her fishing with me. She was a good little fisherwoman.

We would be out on the lake for very long periods of time. She would sit quietly and snack while I worked the lines trying to find us dinner. She loved spending time with Daddy and she loved the snacking that went along with it. It was a time I think about often when I am in the outdoors.

I once spent six days sitting in the same spot along a mountain. Every night my sons Chris and Josh would ask me what I had seen. Every night I would tell them I hadn’t seen a thing. They were confused as to what kind of purpose I could have in sitting there.

Little did they know or understand the issues we can have as adults. I needed that time by myself to think and to put myself back into the picture of life at that time. I think they understand now. Eventually, I also brought home a nice buck.

Another time, I spent six days sitting in a tree stand, 20 feet off the ground, with the wind just blowing up a storm. No chance of ever seeing anything, and if I did, no way of ever hitting it, but I got caught up on a lot of restless nights. Did I have a successful hunt? It was one of the most pleasurable hunts I have ever been on and a memory I will cherish forever.

Sometimes, I will go to the fishing piers or oceanfront and sit. It’s nice to catch something, but I go there for other reasons. I go there because I like the smell of fishing; I like the sound of fishing; I like the excitement shown when someone has a tug on his line. I go there when I have to think something through.

I guess you could say that the outdoors has kept me sane at times. Not for anything it has provided, but simply for giving me the environment needed when I need to heal. I guess that is why I love it so much.

And that, my friends, is what I am asking for from you. I promise that I won’t ask for your hotspots.

Please stay safe out there and take care of yourself and those around you, especially tonight.