Kristine at the OBS blog has issued a challenge for us to write about our hunting mentor or the person who was most important in teaching us to love the woods and hunting. I think that most people that write this post will talk about a family member that got them started hunting. I am going to do that also.
Hunting has been a tradition in our family since the beginning and I can still remember my first time at deer camp. The mystery and excitement of camp coupled with thoughts about shooting a giant deer thrilled me.
My father, Hershel Howell, encouraged and helped us more than I can ever repay as we grew from young cubs to men. He even gave each person an Indian name that we keep to this day.
You should have been there for the ceremony the Christmas he was Chief Tallahatchie.
As I grew older it finally came to me the sacrifices he made.
I remember him building deer stands for all of us and making sure we had the best places to hunt. This sometimes involved trekking miles carrying plywood, saws, hammers, etc.
Joining us and being a leader and mentor by example as he taught us how to call in ducks over an icy slough. To read where the deer have moved and what trails they were using. How to hunt squirrels, doves, quail, turkeys, and rabbits.
He also made sure we understood taking care of our game and respect for every animal.
In the forest, he made sure we knew the names of every tree in the woods.
He gave us our first rifles and shotguns and taught us to be safe with them.
I can remember him taking away a little boys gun because he did not obey his rules and later helping him get his limit of doves.
My father has always been there to teach me and his simple rule to remember if we were doing something wrong was “We don’t do that” A simple and powerful phrase to obey the law, respect our game and to practice safety at all times.
He taught us to grabble big catfish, shot bows with us during the summer heat, always has had a dove field ready on opening day, scouted out places for us to deer hunt and let us have the first shot as the mallards cupped their wings.
Growing up, people were excited to talk about the fun times we have had but to me they were a daily part of my life. Now I can see how great a life has been given to me.
He is part of a dwindling breed of outdoorsman that we will not see again. He is one of the finest shots I have ever witnessed and lots of times he used a bow while we rabbit hunted. (Used to drive me crazy)
Over the years he has bought a warehouse of hunting gear for us. Each Christmas was filled with everything a kid could ever use for hunting.
He bloodied all our faces on our first deer, always encouraged my brothers and our friends with help, tidbits and a place to hunt.
His life has been the outdoors and his rich fun stories are what led me to start this blog. I want the stories to last long after he is gone. It has made me a pretty good story teller too.
My father is my mentor, leader and friend.
At camp everyone calls him “Chief” and when you visit please feel at home and call him that too.