Every family has its traditions. In my family, as well as my husband’s, Deer Camp was one of the highlights of the year. I remember squeezing into Dad’s old pickup truck – long before anyone had thought about extended cabs – with my dad and my brother and a week’s worth of gear. We headed north to the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We hunted just south of a little widening in the road called Pine Stump Junction. Yeah. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it.
My husband’s family had their deer camp at Black River, in northeastern lower Michigan. In 2000 we moved to our current home, a dozen miles from their old deep camp. As soon as our son was old enough, he started hunting at Black River.
This year he shot an almost trophy buck. The buck was a 6-point, with 5 points on one side. The other side had one long brow tine and the broken stump of the rest of the antler. Disappointing? Yes and no.
Trophy bucks are hard to find hunting state land in our area. But this big boy weighed in at 175 pounds. We processed over 70 pounds of meat – boneless – from this one buck. Hunting is a sport, but for our family, it’s also meat for the freezer. And 70+ pounds will ease the grocery bill this winter.
Even though a glorious spread of antlers won’t grace our living room wall.
Most important is keeping the family tradition alive and well in the younger generation. Jeff shot this buck with the .30-30 rifle that belonged to his great-grandfather, my Grandpa Lewis. The bullet he used was a re-load by his uncle Greg, my brother. And he was hunting just a few yards away from his dad. Then the next day, our family spent hours together cutting, wrapping, making sausage, and preparing the meat for the freezer.
My brother has two daughters who hunt, as well as both their husbands. Those daughters have given him four little grandsons who are already wearing camo – bibs mostly – and will no doubt follow in the family traditions, keeping them alive into another generation. What family traditions do you have that have passed down for 5 or more generations?