Skip to Content

The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Hunter or Not, You Can Help Create Priceless Memories

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The arduously dry summer on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming has finally passed and fall was ushered in by numerous rains quenching the desperate thirst of the ground on our farm.  

I rarely remember a fall where the grass is so green and the temperatures so moderate. What began as a seemingly pointless effort to plant winter wheat into the hot, dry sand has ended with perfectly straight rows of green sprouts lining every field.  

Now, the calves are weaned and the cows prepare their bodies to grow another calf crop for the coming year. Fall harvest for proso millet, chickpeas and hemp has been challenging and delayed because of the moisture, but we patiently and gladly wait as we give thanks to the blessing and gift of life through these rains.  

The arrival of fall always brings back fond memories. As a child growing up on a ranch, I distinctly recall the smell of fresh corn silage as I sat on the fender of a John Deere 2510 tractor with my father as he would travel back and forth on the pit, pushing each load higher and packing it with the weight of the machine.

I remember the cool morning temperatures and the smell of an early morning dew as it helped to settle the dust from the hot summer months. I would lay awake at night, listening to the change in tones and pitch of the cows and calves mooing and bawling at weaning time.

Then there were other nights I recall vividly where the skies were so dark, all I could see were billions of stars as I listened to the sounds of crickets and the nearby hoot of an owl.

As a hunter, fall also brings excitement. The excitement of the anticipation of a hunt where I would imagine a giant big game animal in the wilderness, as I would make my stalk for the potential harvest.

Each fall, I knew my father would always make time to take me hunting. He would teach me to value and respect the outdoors and the wildlife, and to hunt them using skill and knowledge, not machines and long-range shooting.

He would teach me the importance of excellent marksmanship and how to quietly stalk game on foot, using nature’s elements as cover. He would teach me the value of patience and listening and how to calm my nerves and channel my energy into focus when it was time to take a shot.   

The presence of fall also brings back agonizing memories. On Nov. 4, it will be 23 years since my father lay lifeless in a corral on our ranch as I desperately and frantically administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to him. It was just one short week after he and I had returned on what would be our last elk hunt together.

As I write this article, today is his birthday. He would have been 81 years old.

My father’s lessons and my memories from the 26 years we had together have stuck with me throughout my life. He taught me there’s a lot in life we can’t control and to make the best of every situation.

When we find ourselves with unbearable circumstances, it’s important to remember and recall the things that bring us joy and to lean on and implement the lessons we have learned in life.

As a young child, I never fully understood the impact of the lessons my father was teaching me through hunting. And I couldn’t possibly grasp the value of the memories being created. I was just happy to explore and play outside on the ranch. I was just happy to go hunting with my dad. I was just happy to find an animal where I could hopefully execute a perfectly placed shot.     

For the past 26 years of my life, I have had the privilege of being a licensed big game outfitter in our great state. Over these years, I have personally taken hundreds of people on hunts. 

We have harvested countless trophy animals and been blessed to hunt on some of the best private ranches in southeastern Wyoming. But apart from the animals and opportunity to utilize and pass on the hunting wisdom and expertise I learned from my father, my role as a guide and outfitter has become much bigger than hunting. 

My role is important – to build relationships by sharing experiences and creating memories. What started out as just an activity or hobby, is now used as the vehicle to transport some of life’s most valuable possessions. The possessions of priceless moments, life-long friendships and the lessons helping to make us better people. 

Whether you are a hunter or not, what can you do and who can you help to create positive, lifelong memories? Memories where the value of life’s lessons can be best taught and understood. No matter what we do, who we are and where we live, we can all play a part in this most important role.

  • Posted in Columnists
  • Comments Off on Hunter or Not, You Can Help Create Priceless Memories
Back to top