The lessons to be learned from hunting
Last weekend was the close of dove season for the fall. I was hunting in Hyde County with some friends and their children, and as I watched the kids start getting excited about the hunt with their dads, it brought back many memories of my youth and dove hunting with my dad. I was just excited to be around my dad and the other men that would one day allow me to hunt with them as I got older.
The big dove hunts would always originate at the old fire station on Market Street beside the Daily News. Dr. Clark Rodman was the one who led the hunt and the ride to Grassy Ridge, where the hunt was located. I would ride in the car with my dad, J.C. Singleton and D.S. Swain. My dad had me dressed in hunting pants, gum boots, shirt and my brown hunting hat that was my pride and joy. Even though I was not going to shoot, I was still happy to just fetch the birds after they were shot. No one could have told me I was not an important part of this hunt, and I worked hard to pick up every bird that was hit. Little did I know that these men were teaching me good hunting etiquette, shotgun safety and the fellowship a person gets from a day of hunting.
When I got a little older, my dad took me to Mallison’s Hardware and bought me new hunting pants and boots so that we could hunt together the next day. That day feels like it was only yesterday, and my memory is still clear about our first hunt with me using a shotgun. My dad borrowed a .410-gauge shotgun from J.C., and he got me up at 4:30 a.m. to get dressed, and then we went downtown for breakfast with the other hunters. Most were duck-hunting, but we were going to squirrel hunt. Once we were through with breakfast, we headed to Tranters Creek and the Herring Club and got on a row boat and Dad did the paddling. I was told to sit in the front and watch for a squirrel coming to the edge of the water. I really wanted to impress my dad, so I strained looking for one. He saw the first and told me not to miss; I did not let him down. One was our limit for the day, and we headed back to the club house and then home. My dad had only one rule and that was whatever we killed, we had to clean and eat that night.
As I sat out in the field last Saturday, I was thinking just how excited these kids were to be with their dads and how much they were learning. They were more excited than I was at their age, and they learned many positives about hunting and hunter safety.
For me, it was my first dove hunt in 40-plus years, and I did not hurt the dove population any at all. They flew like dive bombers, and the wind pushed them by me like jet planes. Dove hunting can test the best of shots and can be a humbling experience if you get to proud. Still, I enjoyed sitting in the corn field and feeling the breeze while enjoying Mother Nature at her best. I was thinking how lucky those kids were to have dads who would take the time out to carry their child hunting, spending the afternoon together, and what valuable lessons they were learning from their dads. If you get the chance, take a kid fishing or hunting, and you will have a friend for a lifetime!
They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!
— Harold Jr.
Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.