The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,643 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<u>THE TRADITION</u>


My earliest memories of “The Tradition” are from Grandmas house in northern Venango county. Back then everyone went north for deer season. Our camp was Grandmas house. All of the men, and all of my older cousins would gather there beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Bear season was first on the agenda. While mostly unsuccessful, it served as a well timed tune up for what lay ahead. Gear was gathered, rifles sighted, mountains scouted, all in anticipation of the first day. Most seasons went without success but I do recall three years in which bears were taken.

As a wide eyed youngster, I absorbed it all! Unknowingly, the tradition was being cultivated. I would eagerly await darkness, when the hunters would drag their tired bodies through the front door. Grandma always made sure a hot meal was waiting. Stories were told, the next days strategy planned, and exhausted men put to bed.

After the enormous Thanksgiving dinner “The Tradition” came into full effect. Uncles , aunts, cousins and family friends would fill the old house over the next few days. The anticipation was high and excitement almost uncontained. For years are haunt of choice was the Piney Dam in Clarion county. Everyone had their spots, but every year a trip was made just to make sure everything was in order. Not a lot of scouting was done prior to the opener, as most guys lived hours away and worked six and seven days a week in the steel mills and coal mines of western p.a.

Monday morning started early. The aroma of frying bacon and brewing coffee filled the house. One by one the hunters filled the kitchen. After a quick bite, the Stanley thermoses were filled and out the door they went. I yearned for the day I would be part of the group.

For the first time in days the house was eerily quiet. Gram spent most of her day preparing supper. I can still smell her homemade bread to this day. For the most part I spent the day waiting. Watching the driveway. Some years, the successful hunters would come home early but for the most part everyone stayed till dark.

I fondly recall the stories over the years. Aunt Dots big eight, bears crossing the river, and struggles with the laurel. The memories made cemented the foundation of the tradition.

In years to come I proudly became one of the group. Looking back, it was a rite of passage. I quickly found out about the laurel, specifically why the youngsters were sent through it!! I remember how proud Dad was when my younger brother took his first buck. It was the only deer taken that year. A scrawny four point, but a trophy in our eyes.

Soon after that 1991 season, things began to change. The realization that there were more and bigger deer near home was made. Less and less people made the annual trek north. Gram got sick and passed in 1994 and our “camp” was sold. The tradition was in jeapordy. We made a few more trips to an uncles camp near Belltown, Jefferson county, but for the most part it was over.

“ The Tradition “ went dormant for a few years. New families were created,
new hunting grounds established, and job relocations made necessary. Over the last fifteen years I have been blessed to take a few of P.a.’s trophies but I was still eager for the commraderie of years past.

In recent years “The Tradition” has been rekindled. New traditions have been made, new memories locked away in my internal hard drive. My house now takes its place as the gathering spot for family and friends. The younger generation is coming of age and “The Tradition” is being passed once again. Some of the elders have passed but their traditions are alive in every one of us. A new generation of hunters are ensuring that the rich heritage will never be lost. Family camps still survive up north but for the most part sit empty after bear season. The farmlands and woodlots of southwestern p.a. are now the place of choice.

When I pull into the driveway after a day in the woods I see “The Tradition” staring me in the face. My eight year old and four year old are waiting in the doorway, exactly as I once was. They accompany me on squirrel hunts and scouting trips eager to learn. I can only imagine what goes through their minds. But on second thought I know exactly what they are feeling. The tradition is alive and well within them. As old traditions die, new ones are forged and the cycle goes on. In these trying times one thing shines through, the rich tradition of being a Pennsylvania hunter.

Bonz
9-29-08
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,493 Posts
Very well written piece and something a lot of us can relate to, I know I can. This sentence really hit home with me personally and I'm sure many on here.

The realization that there were more and bigger deer near home was made.
This was a game changer in the PA deer hunting world. A lot of us, and the northwoods themselves, have never quite been the same.

You have a great way of putting these stories and thoughts into words.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,691 Posts
this is all very true and brings back a lot of memories. our deer season at camp was "stag" as dad called it for many years. only men. i was too young to go in those days but used to love hearing the stories. when it was time for me to hunt it was a family affair with women and kids at camp. the men still did the hunting and i remember being so proud of being one of the "men". over the years, the old timers passed away and deer camp was just me and sometimes my brother. over the past 5 years it has grown again and my boys now join us. not the same for sure, but still good and still a tradition in the making. we have tons of stories from the old days and lots from now a days. thanks for a nice reminder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,490 Posts
BONZy,
I fully understand your views on tradition and hunting.
Our family has a tradition of being serious Pa Grouse hunters. Our family is part Seneca and Part German and has been here in the Pa mountains sense long before this was the USA. Our family has hunted and lived here sense before
most white men ever saw (Tiadaughton). Seneca word for River of the Pines (Pine Creek). Our family Christian values are taught from our Pa back woods live style, with the utmost respect for the Supreme Architects master piece,
and creatures blessed to live in it. It's not just a hunting tradition to our family, it's a way of life.
Pine Creek/Dave

As my Great Grandfathers, Grandfather called it, the Supreme Architects Greatest Creation. Seen from the Colton Point Look out. I have to say I agree with old Seneca War Chief, there is no place on Gods earth as Beautiful.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top