In 1946, when I was twelve years old, I bought my first hunting license with the legal right to hunt rabbits, squirrels, ruffed grouse, and most importantly deer. Deer hunting was on the top tier of hunting adventures. Since I was old enough to know what was going on in the world I remembered Pa and Bill Miller, our neighbor, sharing tales of hunting deer. And what wondrous tales they were. Now, at age 12, I could join in.
I don’t recall I even saw a deer that first deer season when I was a legal hunter. I lugged a double barrel 12-gauge shotgun, which if I had fired it, would have felt like a horse had kicked me in the shoulder. But deer hunters, no matter what their age, don’t worry about such things.
Now, some 67 years later, I am still deer hunting—sort of—for I mostly enjoy being out in the woods, and deer hunting is one more reason to do it. I have never missed a deer season since the first one—some kind of a record but a long way from the one Pa held as he hunted until his was 92. Nothing got in the way of opening day of deer season for him.
In addition to being out in the woods, deer hunting has long been a family tradition for the Apps clan. My brother, his sons, my son, and this year my Colorado grandsons, Christian and Nicholas—their first time—all hunt deer. And eat together and tell tall tales of earlier hunts and what was seen and not seen.
For the Apps family there is much more to deer hunting than bagging a deer—it is a tradition filled with memories, stories, and high adventure.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Deer hunting is one more excuse for spending sometime in the nature.
SPECIAL EVENT: December 4, 7:00 p.m. Premier showing of “A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps.” All Wisconsin public TV stations.
December 7, Velveteen Rabbit Book Store, 20 Sherman Avenue East, Fort Atkinson, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Book signing.
December 8, Barnes and Noble West, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Book signing.
December 14, Fireside Books, West Bend, 10:30 to 2:30 p.m. Presentation and book signing.