-By Brandon Wikman
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to hunt some of the greatest hunting outfits in the country. Whether it’s nestled in the buck infested Mississippi river bottoms of Buffalo County, Wisconsin or in the palmetto marshes of Florida chasing the elusive Osceola, nothing beats hunting back at home.
The feeling I get when I sit in the very same stand I shot my first deer is almost surreal. An indescribable sensation of memories, history and tradition sweeps over me. I can promise you that the deer aren’t as big, and turkey’s not as fat, but the humbling feeling of putting aside the microphones, batteries, scripts and video camera is nice every once in awhile. I’m very appreciative of having the chance to hunt on camera, but I also like to recollect the times I sat perched in my very own homemade box blind my uncle and I constructed when I was ten years old and dreaming big. The old box-blind was made of scrap wood from our barn that has been replaced, and sported my grandpa’s ancient construction ladder that not only helped getting me up and down the blind, but also remember fond pastimes with him. The blind was properly named, ‘Brandon’s Box-Blind’.
Last weekend I drove back to my hometown of Adams-Friendship, roughly two-hours from where I go to college. I was scheduled to hunt with my good friends at Bluff Bucks Outfitters, so I decided to make a run for memory lane. As soon as my 8am class finished, I shut the books and it was off to see my mom and sister, but also visit my stomping grounds.
I always look forward to coming home. It’s surely pleasant to eat home-cooked meals and sleep in the comforts of where I grew up. Not to mention the woods I hunt is in the backyard, which makes an easy walk from the backdoor.
Both evenings’ hunts proved to be successful. I didn’t shoot any deer, but did see a handful of does and a glimpse of a young buck. To be quite honest, it wasn’t about killing any deer at all, but sitting in my chair basking with thoughts of previous years. When I sat down in the chair, it felt like a time machine warping me back into the early years of growing up. I remember hauling my video camera, PB&J, and a backpack full of hunting books to my stand to keep me occupied during the long summer evenings scouting, considering I wasn’t of age to hunt.
I can truly admit, even though I didn’t see a deer over 120-pounds or have a camera documenting each moment, it was one of the best experiences of hunting I’ve ever had. I believe with enough time spent in the woods maturing, a part of us becomes awed and inspired thanks to what nature has to offer. It’s these feelings and fond memories of hunting’s joy, drama and triumph that open’s our heart and eyes to how lucky we are to live an interactive outdoor lifestyle.
I think everyone needs to find time and have their own ‘Box-Blind’ moment to assure we don’t forget those who introduced us and took part in enriching our lives.