I dated a hunter that used all the hunting tactics any good man uses to get a “good one”. He put up an automatic feeder (Saturday night dinner dates complete with flowers or cards) to entice me to hang around. He would rattle deer horns and use his best deer calls (phoning me at work, to let me know he was “thinking of me.” Calls at night when you talk for hours about nothing). It was great. I was a complete deer in the headlights. I could not look away. So I did what any girl would do. I married him.
I married a man who told me he liked to go hunting. I said that was nice. That was the end of our conversation.
Since I did not come from a family of hunters, I didn’t know what I was marrying into. I had no idea that statement was to clarify many seasons, nights, weekends and days alone.
In our first week of marriage we moved from a big city to a small town. He unloaded all our belongings into our first apartment, carried me over the threshold and kissed me – it was so romantic. I couldn’t wait to open to our beautiful wedding gifts and decorate our new love nest. Our cabinets were filled with our sparkling new china and the linens were neatly folded and put away. I laid the fresh doormat out for our first guest to wipe their feet. It was so exciting. While I was unpacking to start our new lives, my husband was packing as well. Little did I know at sunrise it was the all important, the official, “Opening Day of Hunting Season.” There I was surrounded by boxes and wrinkled newspapers as he announced with the excitement of Christmas morning that he would be leaving for his first big hunt of the season on what was my sixth day of marital bliss. What entered my mind was the rewarding career, friends and life that I had traded to be abandoned. I changed my name, my life and my plan and found myself second place to a family tradition that was in his blood. I was in Shock.
I screamed. I yelled. I cried. I did what any young, new, bride would do. went a little crazy. I pleaded with my husband, “help me understand!” He looked down at me as I begged him not to go. Through my tears and devastation I heard justification that still haunts my very soul, “all the old men at the deer lease say that I shouldn’t worry if you’re upset now because someday you’ll be glad when I go hunting, they said someday you’ll even pack my stuff for me and won’t even miss me.” With that he shut the door as my tears fell to the floor. I had become a hunting widow, instantly.
Ten years later as our wedding anniversary fell on opening day of deer season I was still in second place, but with flowers and a sweet card. What I wanted was a nice romantic weekend away from kids and daily life. Maybe I didn’t yell my request loud enough because now he and his father are enjoying each others company on a nice four day weekend away from kids, daily life, and relaxing by the campfire telling hunting bedtime stories.
Yes, this is year #10 and in those years I have learned many things about my husband and his mistress that is the great outdoors.
I have seen my husband actually set up an automatic feeder, and camera to photograph animals in their natural setting. This same being will rarely hold a camera in his own living room to photograph his wife and children in their natural setting. He can also sit quietly in a deer stand waiting, watching and looking at nothing – hoping for a glimpse of something, yet will not sit quietly to enjoy or have me enjoy an on stage performance, such as a movie or play.
Most of all I’ve learned that he was right, I don’t miss him. I do enjoy the peace and quiet those wise old hunters spoke of. I relish not cooking a big dinner, getting the kids to bed early, and watching TV that does not include gunfire and death to deer. Ironically my husband has learned that he misses his family more and for some reason it gets harder for him to leave every time. For our anniversary next year he asked if we could spend time alone – I said sure – Go Hunting and you can be alone…I have a babysitter, suitcase, swimsuit and girls weekend planned. You’ll get a postcard.
If you are a hunting widow and have a story to tell, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
May God bless you with a peaceful hunting season.