Creating Those Special Opening Weekend Memories

Make the most of your time before it runs out.

Mark Tribble | October 3, 2014

The weather for Georgia’s 2009 deer season was predicted to be perfect not only for hunting but for camping. And when I say camping, I mean in a tent with no running water and no electricity for the weekend.

So as opening day approached, we spent many hours getting camping gear together, as well as hunting gear. I would make list after list of things I didn’t want to forget and have to come back home for: tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, pillows, lanterns, matches, grill, stove, cooking utensils, just to name a few things. If you didn’t know better, you would think we were going to be camping for the next six months with all the stuff we carry.

I would also make two shopping lists. One list was for me—the Walmart list—and one was for my wife—the grocery store list. As she went through her list, she started complaining as she wondered how much food we could eat in just four days. Then I used the old ploy, “You wouldn’t want your child to go hungry would you?” She couldn’t say no to that.

As opening day drew closer, we realized we were compiling a lot of stuff, and I didn’t know if the truck would hold it all. So I made the decision to make two trips up to the camp to take the supplies.

The game plan on the Friday before season was to get up fairly early in the morning, take Hunter to school and pick up a few last-minute items. After that, I would drive to the campsite in Wilkinson County and set up the tent, sleeping and cooking areas. I would return to town in time to pick Hunter up from school, swing back by the house to pick up the remaining gear and then head back to the hunting camp to try and get in an afternoon bowhunt before the opening of gun season.

But as things usually go, I didn’t get off like I wanted to. I got tied up in town and didn’t make the first trip to camp until after lunch. The weekend wasn’t getting started at all like I would have liked it to. But I just had that feeling it would all work out.

I finally made it to the campsite and started working like a mad man to get things set up. I got the tables set up and the cook stoves and grill ready. I unloaded the cooking gear, food containers and the coolers. The tent was the last thing to get out and put together.

After 30 minutes or so, I finally had it up. This was no ordinary tent. This was a three-room, eight-man, 6-foot-tall tent complete with doggie door. So don’t laugh at me for taking so long to put it up. I could have used another set of hands putting it up, and it would have been a lot easier. But I wanted us to be able to start enjoying our time in the woods as soon as we got back later that evening. I checked my watch, and it was almost 2 o’clock. I was going to have to hurry if I was going to get Hunter from school and get back to camp for an evening hunt. I unloaded the sleeping gear, threw it into the tent and headed back to town.

I just made it in time to pick him up without having to wait very long. We drove home to pick up the rest of the gear, feed the dogs and kiss Mama good-bye. We were finally on our way to camp, but about 2 miles down the road, I realized we had left something behind. So we had to turn around and go back home. I’m glad we were only a few miles away before we remembered it. We were on our way again, and we finally made it to camp.

We unloaded the rest of the gear, changed into our hunting clothes and were off to the woods. We came back to camp, ate some supper of elk burgers and potato chips. With our bellies full, we slipped into our sleeping bags exhausted from the days running around and excitement of the upcoming hunt the next morning.

As I laid there in my sleeping bag listing to the sounds of the night, I though about what a wonderful time we were having. To be out in the woods with my best hunting buddy is a time I will always treasure.

The special time I get to spend with my son doing something we both enjoy is always time and money well spent. There’s no T.V. or video games to get in the way of him and I spending time together. Time is the one thing I can’t make more of. Once it is gone, it’s gone. We may not have many more opportunities like this to share and create memories that we will always remember. But thank you God for giving us the opportunity to spend time together and enjoying your wonderful creation.

Remember to take your son or daughter or grandchildren hunting or fishing and start creating memories in God’s outdoors that will last a lifetime.

Editor’s Note: Mark and Hunter put some meat on the ground that weekend, and we found it unique that it wasn’t mentioned in the story. Instead, the time spent between father and son in the deer woods was the focus. Like Mark, GON encourages you to spend time hunting with your kids this fall, focusing on the entire aspect of the hunt. Kudos, Mark!

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