My dad was an alcoholic when I was growing up, but he went to rehab and got the help he needed to get sober. Hunting became our way of rebuilding our relationship.
My first trip, I was 11 years old. I had tagged along because he wanted me to go and I wanted to support him in his recovery. I remember the first two seasons we went out we had no idea what we were doing; it was a learning experience. You would have laughed at my gear; it was all from Walmart. Oh yea, it was stupendous!
The third season we finally shot a buck. It was a little two-pointer, mule deer in Williams Lake. Small guy but it was good eating. Maybe you always remember your first, but I vividly remember walking through an alfalfa field, and there he was. I was in front, so I spotted the deer first. I singled my Dad. It was a perfect shot as he was about 30 yards away, broadside. I didn’t even shoot the buck, it was my dad but seeing his excitement was what got me into it. The thrill and the adrenaline was the hook, line, and sinker.
What started out as a father and son bonding time is something that’s still ingrained in our relationship today. We take it seriously, but we’re not going to do a two-week mountain hunt. We hunt to stock our freezer and to get out and be with nature. It’s a relaxing way to decompress and bond. He’s never slipped; 15 years of sobriety.
When I first met Lloyd he was a “vegan.” I was beyond confused, I thought I was interviewing a hunter — is there such as a vegan-hunter? He explained he was detoxing from years of falling off the health train and eating shit-mass preserved animal byproducts. But as soon as open season for deer started, he would eat what he kills.
Despite Lloyd having over a decade of hunting experience, he didn’t see a single buck last season. I can’t help but think about how I'll do out there as I continue to hear stories of seasoned hunters coming back empty-handed. I’m terrified of failure. So much so that even my high school wrestling coach confronted me with, “You fear losing so much; you rather lose on purpose because you can’t face true failure.” No joke. But his words have kept me motivated to "persist until I succeed" for the last decade or so.
Well, I’m preparing to remind myself to, “keep hammering” when I’m three seasons deep and still buck-less. But truthfully and to stay positive, I have amazing mentors and friends like Lloyd. And shit, I live in the middle of the hunting mecca, beautiful British Columbia.
It's important to share a different perspective of hunting, whether it's helped with mental health, relationships or someone like me that's extremely food motivated; we need more stories like this being shared. I would love to hear your story here. Maybe we could collab and publish it as well?
Thank you so much for reading!