When it comes to learning about the hunt, there is no more valuable place to be in the universe than around the campfire on the second or third day of hunting camp. The first day tends to be a little rushed, but after the second whole day the camp is in order and the hunters are a little worn out. Dinner is nice but as the night progresses and plans for the morning are settled the stories come out. The misadventures are often the best, and when you have more than one hunter gathered there are usually plenty to go around.
More learning has been done around a campfire in one night down through the ages than in most classrooms all year long. Talk is about the misses and hits from the day’s hunt and reminiscing about years gone by. Maybe it’s imbedded in our genetic code. Talking and listening both come easy when the hunt is through and there isn’t anything left but to watch the embers and huddle against the night air, turning your boots occasionally to ensure dry feet for the morning.
One story leads to another and grandfathers have an equal footing with youngsters, but with years to cement their place as the senior hunter. Topics range from how to cape a trophy buck or how Uncle Jim eventually proposed to Helen. Nothing but the boring and workaday is off limits. There is a level of informality rarely reached at the dinner table that allows the best and most intimate communication. Make sure you are out there this year, make sure your son and daughter have the experience and get the chance to stare into the embers, to listen, to talk and to reflect.