Early 20th-century philosopher and educator John Dewey once said, “To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.”
If that’s the case, I consider myself in possession of a shiny new set of brass that I feel will allow me to expand my knowledge, professional skills and acquaintances to new horizons in a facet of life I’m very passionate about – country living.
Until I was about 15, my family – my mom, dad, two older brothers and an older half-brother – called just under 200 acres in southeast Kansas home. Our place was over a mile from our nearest neighbor and 30 miles from the nearest town of more than 300 people.
As boys, my brothers and I had horizon to horizon to call our own, and that sub-200-acre farm still seems today as if it had to have been in the thousands of acres. From sunup to sundown, when we weren’t attending school, after the work for the day was done – animals fed, garden and yard maintained and anything else my father had for us to do – we were given free reign to run as boys and grow as outdoorsmen.
We each had a horse, pet (at times our own bird dogs) and plenty of hunting and fishing gear to test our aptitude and ability to self-sustain.
Hunting became the favorite of Josh and me. Josh is four years my senior and my favorite hunting buddy today. Two years each way between us, the middle child, Andy, developed more of a fondness for fishing, but both realms have combined in all three of us, and we share an appreciation for nature forged in that childhood setting.
Hunting, for me, was a right of passage. I can remember walking through the snow behind my Uncle Fred – who taught us how to hunt and harvest meat, since Dad didn’t hunt – with a BB gun, my mother’s brother laughing as I tried to pick up my boots high enough to make it through the snow without tripping.
I finally felt like a man after I passed a hunter’s safety course at about 9 years old and carried a shotgun of my own along the hedgerows searching for bobwhite quail.
Aside from the hunting, being so far away from others’ homes helped us develop a genuine appreciation for family, the solitude and serenity of rural life and all that that encompasses.
The chance to work in the magazine industry dealing with this type of content was a great opportunity for me. I’m happy to be the newest member of the Grit editorial team, and I look forward to getting to know everyone.
As I go forward with this blog, especially as fishing season comes to a close and bucks prepare to rut, I’ll share observations, experiences and analysis of important hunting, fishing and outdoors issues as they come up. The opportunity to share photos and experiences with you has me more pumped than ever for hunting season to get under way.
Tight lines and straight shooting,