Dr. Jim Miles and his spring turkey
Still Excited About the Hunt at Age 83
As we get older, some things lose their edge after years of doing them repeatedly. The excitement simply wears off. I remember years ago, riding to a deer lease with one of the old hunters and, around Waco, the conversation slowed to a crawl. He finally blurted out, “Well I didn’t sleep well last night.” Giles was in his late 70s at the time, so I was going over in my head what could have kept him from sleepingl. Maybe it was the aches and pains of getting old, arthritis, Gout or a flare up of diverticulitis? I took the bait and asked, “So, why couldn’t you sleep?” To this day, I still get pumped up by his unexpected answer. “Well ... I was just so excited about the hunt I couldn’t get to sleep.” The old guy has been making the trek to the Texas Hill Country for lots of opening day deer hunts, and he is so excited about getting to go on the hunt that he can’t sleep the night before.
I remember the hunting and fishing trips my dad took me on as a kid and how excited I would get when anticipating the trip to come. We would visit my uncle and I would act as if I wasn’t listening when he would ask my dad to go bass fishing the next day. I could hardly wait for the follow up question: “Do you think the boys would like to go too?” It was all I could do not to squeal like an Arkansas razorback.
The thrill of the hunt has been around our family for many years. In the off season, I’d go with dad to the sporting goods department to look at all the new stuff and talk shop with the manager. We’d check out new lures or decoys or calls. It was the beginning of the hunting gear explosion and we were primed for the latest gadget.
Forty years later not much has changed. We still hunt the same ranch in Mason County and all the old guys that started the lease are gone now. My dad, who is 83 years old, is the only one of the “young group” of hunters left on the lease. In the eyes of my sons, nieces and nephews I am becoming one of the older hunters. It’s hard to believe this while reflecting on the day my dad asked the staunch, old German landowner if he could bring me to hunt. I cried when the landowner didn’t say yes. Dad gently said, “I have known that guy for many years and he didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no.” About a month later, the landowner sent us a letter saying I could hunt his property with Dad.
Luke and Noah Miles
Our family has enjoyed years of hunts and memories in that old deer cabin. Now my boys can’t wait to go and they each have their special things they enjoy. The little one loves going to the “Indian Place” to look for arrowheads and dream about what life must have been like a hundred years ago. The 12-year-old just wants to drive the camp vehicle. My wife said I’d never get to drive it again. She’s right, but that’s OK. I think I will like being delivered to my deer stand just like we used to deliver old Giles to his.
My dad hasn’t changed much either. He couldn’t wait to show me his new deer feeder. It’s the latest model that you can load from the ground, and it sounds like a helicopter taking off when it throws out the corn. Dad is still a sucker for the latest contraption, but he didn’t buy the feeder at the sporting goods store. He found this one on the Internet. Not to be outdone by these young engineers, he designed his own automatic turkey watering gizmo. It’s pretty slick. He told me half a dozen times how excited he was about the opening weekend of turkey season.
My old man doesn’t see as well as he used to and he can’t quite hear those distant gobbles anymore, but guess who brought in the first gobbler of the season? I remember my dad telling some of the old hunters that he didn’t care if he got a buck or not, he just wanted his boys to get one. Now his wish has come full circle. I didn’t care if I got a turkey or not, but I wanted the boys to get one, and I couldn't have been more excited to see my dad and brother drive up with Dad’s gobbler in the back of the truck.
Here’s a photo of the boys and my dad. At age 83 he is still excited about the hunt. — Bo Miles
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