I don’t know my father. Not really.
He left when I was 3. I’ve interacted with him maybe a dozen times since. I’m almost 40.
My stepfather came into my life when I was 8. He doesn’t hunt. Nor do my 3 brothers. As shorthand, consider this: the four of them have spent some part of the last 10 years working in corrections. I’m an engineer. We’re family, but we don’t have a lot in common.
I started hunting when I was 36. My good friend Tom invited me, 17 years in a row. When I finally joined him, I realized that something was missing from my life. That something was the strong relationships that can form between men. Especially men who hunt together.
For most hunters, the tradition is passed on to them by their fathers. Not me.
My son was born two months after my first hunt. It dawned on me then that my father taught me as much about hunting as he did about fatherhood. To this day, I rely on those, like my step dad, willing to support and teach me without an obligation to do so.
This blog is a way for me to celebrate the joys of fatherhood and honor those who have helped me. To unpack the pain of not knowing my father but knowing he’s out there. To navigate the parallel journeys of learning to hunt and learning to parent.
I intend to set the best example I can for my son. That means introspection. Deep thoughts. Frank discussions about difficult topics. It means taking the long view and understanding how my choices impact him. I can’t think of a better backdrop to accomplish this than hunting.
Along the way, I want to learn from you. How did you get into hunting? What role does hunting play in your life? Share your favorite memories of hunt camp, your fathers, and your children. Let’s learn from each other. Strengthen each other. Together, let’s be better fathers and better hunters.
Join me in hunting fatherhood.