My dad died when I was 2, so unfortunately I don't remember him. He was the only person that seriously hunted in my immediate family.
Luckily, in high school I got hooked up with a group of kids, and the one's dad was a local vet. Very into hunting, very into hunting groups and doing things the right way. Being ethical, promoting good hunting behaviors as a way to sustain the sport. I still remember the times in junior high hunting rabbits with a group of guys and those rabbit dogs. We became like family, and seems like we spent more time over there than we did at home. Sleeping over there for nights on end, getting wild game cooked for us. Looking back now, I realize how big of a deal it was. It truly changed my life. Killed my first turkey, deer, upland birds etc. with that group of guys. After college, jobs and what not, we are starting to be around the same area more and able to hunt together a lot more. Dang does it feel good! And we still tell the old stories, and they never seem to get old.
When I graduated college and my grandma passed, and the will information was being discussed, I was informed that my uncle had some of my dad's old guns. When my dad died, my mom sold him the guns to be taken care of. After quite a bit of pressure, I was finally able to purchase them all back. 870 wingmaster, Dan Wesson revolver, few .22's and a flintlock. I also got a large chunk of black walnut that he was starting to make a stock with. I plan on finishing that stock on a side by side that my father in law gave me this year. After those guns were bought back, my mom also found an old bin of a bunch of my Dad's hunting related items. The stuff in this box trumps all of the guns combined. Patches from archery shoots, old nostalgia archery equipment and the best of all, a hunting log. He kept detailed accounts of his archery hunts, and it makes me feel like I'm hunting alongside him. He inspired me to do the same, and when cleaning out the basement last night, I read some of my old journals as well from 2003.
Nice reading all your stories.
If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.