Hunting is ingrained in me; as much a part of me as breathing and moving. I learned to love the outdoors and appreciate the skills of being a hunter from my father’s knee. He hunted for survival; that was how he provided meat for his family.
When I was four years old, Charlie Pisis, a Cree Indian who was my father’s friend, gave me a bow made out of willow and some arrows. Charlie taught me how to hunt birds and how to recognize different tracks. He and Dad used to go hunting moose and deer, and while I was too young to actually go with them, I was there every step of way in my imagination. I waited impatiently for them to come home and talk about what had happened, and I sat next to them and absorbed every word.
Later I would go outside and pretend to be hunting with them. This was serious business to me. I would act out the things I had heard them talk about. I sneaked around through the bushes and grass, stalking the way they did, and practiced moving with stealth and quiet. I was determined to be a “great hunter” like them one day. As soon as I was big enough to go along I learned how to shoot. I have hunted ever since. Dad was my hunting mentor and guide during my growing up years.
I made my first hunting trip into the mountains in my early twenties, and I fell in love with the experience. My heart calls out for them every fall and until my hunting partner died, I went every year. It was a time to recharge my batteries in the majestic beauty of the mountains and sharpen my senses, as I pitted my skills against the animals that I stalked. Believe me, they are much more skilled than man, and time and time again they beat you at the game.