Recently lost my lifelong best friend and hunting partner.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ss7mm, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    My lifelong best friend and hunting partner recently died. This is a vent for me and a suggestion for those of you that have good friends. I’ll probably ramble a little but will try to eventually get the point made.

    Gene and I first met in High School and he was one year ahead of me. After graduation he moved out of town for a couple of years and then, when he moved back to town, we both bought new houses in the same new sub-division without realizing it. That first year in high school was in 1959 and he died recently in 2011. The friendship lasted for 52 years.

    Our kids grew up together. Our families camped together, rode three and four wheelers together, and just enjoyed spending time doing stuff outdoors. We cut firewood and fished in the summer and we hunted in the fall and winter. If one of us went shooting, we both went. If one of us went hunting, we both went. We started our kids growing up together and he was there when my son got his first deer and I was there when his grandson got his first deer. Gene had two daughters but they never did take up hunting.

    We hunted in state and out of state. We hunted deer, elk, bear and cougar plus all of the birds and varmints and just about everything that we legally could and sometimes we maybe even stretched that a bit. We hunted when it was so hot that we thought we’d have a heat stroke and when it was so cold that we thought we’d freeze to death. We packed elk out of the canyons and deer out of the sagebrush. We spent thousands of hours together and if either wife couldn’t find her husband she knew where to check for him. We hunted with bows, pistols, rifles and shotguns and would head for the hills at the first chance we got.

    For all of those years and all of those hunts and all of those countless hours together both at home and in the field I can honestly say that there was never one time when we argued. There was never one misunderstanding or a single harsh word. He was a friend that I could say goodbye to after a day in the field and maybe not see him for a couple of weeks but as soon as we got back together we just seemed to automatically pick up right where we left off last time. We hunted together so long that we knew each others habits and usually never even had to discuss the hunt much because we thought so much alike. If we split up in a canyon or on a ridge I knew exactly where he’d go and how he’d hunt and he knew the same about me.

    In 2006 his health started to noticeably decline and on the last trip to Idaho I had some serious doubts about his health and whether I should bring him out of the hills or not. He did perk up and finished the Idaho trip but each year he could walk less and felt worse. Throughout this time he had a heart attack and a couple of bypasses as well as being the recipient of a pace maker but he still did as much as he could to spend as much time in the field as his health would allow. Each year since 2006 we adjusted out hunting to accommodate his declining health and each year I was glad when we made it through the hunting seasons. In 2010 the writing was on the wall and I somehow knew it would be his last year.

    Recently, during a visit to his doctor he was told that he had cancer and had only 3 months at the most to live. He never even made it half that time. I was there with him when Hospice called and made an appointment to see him the next day to set up home care. He didn’t even make it a week after that and he was gone.

    In those last days we had a lot of long talks about old times, raising our kids and about some of the memorable hunts we had and some of the great times we spent together and as was always the case, we drank coffee like we had for 50 years. He’d usually fall asleep while we were talking but it was still nice to spend some final hours with a great friend.

    After all of this rambling what I’d like to get across is that if you have a special friend or hunting partner please let them know what it means to have such a friend. Let them know what a real friend means and remember that some day it might be you sitting there when your friend slowly passes or it might be your friend sitting with you. A special friend is something we tend to take for granted so take the time to thank that friend, son, daughter or wife for being there for you and spending time with you in the field and doing the things you both love to do.

    I don’t know what this leaves in my plans for future hunting as old age has sneaked up on me and the typical physical ailments are taking their toll. Right now I don’t know if I’ll hunt again after this season. I’ll wait until this winter and next spring and see but I doubt it. If I didn’t hunt again I’d miss nothing as I have a lifetime of memories to keep me company as I drink the proverbial coffee and sit by the fire. However, I do know that this hunting season I will spend each day hunting in a different spot where we hunted before. There won’t be enough days in this year’s seasons but there won’t be a minute this fall that I won’t think about him as I glass the hillsides for deer and elk.



    RIP Buddy and good hunting!
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  2. MT4XFore

    MT4XFore Well-Known Member

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    Dick, I think you have your friend's passing in the right perspective. Everyone says remember the good times........sounds like that was about all you two ever had! Rest assured you and your buddy and your respective families are in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

    Jim
     

  3. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for your loss. You and your friend were blessed to have each other. He might be gone in this world but his spirits lives within you. Those wonderful memories will last you a lifetime and no one can take it away.

    I am sure Gene would love for you to continue all the wonderful things you both shared together.

    God bless!

    V/R

    Ed
     
  4. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    Dick,

    What a wonderful tribute. I'm sorry for your loss. The memories you carry are truly priceless. The hole you are feeling now cannot be filled. You have been blessed with a true friend.

    Rick
     
  5. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear about the passing of your friend and hunting partner Dick. Thanks for reminiscing and sharing your shared experiences and your perspective on a difficult topic that many of us will face over time.
     
  6. SLOAN

    SLOAN Well-Known Member

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    May god bless,an keep you safe.SLOAN
     
  7. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    I went through the exact same thing in March of this year, and it's been a rough go. I've had to rely on the memories that we made to help me through the tough times. I finally made it out to do some varmint hunting in the places that we always went. I carried my best friend's binoculars with me because I felt the need to have part of him along. Somehow it made my heart feel better...I talked to him through the day, conferred with him on the wind calls and dope..crazy? maybe, but that's what I needed to do to get me through the day. It was a small step to the rest of my days in the field.
    Cherish the memories you two made, don't take anyone loved one for granted, and get yourself back out doing what you two used to do because Gene would want you to.
     
  8. Gene Jr.

    Gene Jr. Well-Known Member

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    Dick,

    So sorry for the loss of your friend. Your tribute is a great reminder to appreciate the friends we have and make the most of the times together. The memories are all we ever really have.

    Gene Jr.
     
  9. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Dick, I am so sorry for your loss of a life long friend and hunting partner. Don't worry, you are not hunting alone, Gene will be there right with you, and if you talk to him from time to time in that quiet place or mountain top, he will hear.
    I would hate to see you quit hunting, you and Gene devoted a lifetime to it and you carry on a welth of knowledge. Have you thought of taking a young person along to pass on what you guys learned? Maybe a friend or relative, or maybe that kid down the road that has no one to teach him? Just a thought.:)


    Our prayers go out to family and friends.

    God Bless

    Jeff
     
  10. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

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    Thanks for everything guys. I just never thought that losing a close friend could leave such a hole in one's life.

    Joel, I know what you're talking about. I've got things of his and I've already spent time in the hills with him along side since his passing. Hope nobody sees me shooting or hunting and talking to somebody that isn't there. They might call the guys with the little white jackets. :)
     
  11. Joel Russo

    Joel Russo Official LRH Sponsor

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    He is there Dick, his spirit will be with you all your days in the field.
    Embrace that!
     
  12. newmexkid

    newmexkid Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for your loss. I went through more or less the same thing after the 1999 Wyoming elk season. Since that time my hunting rifles have been safe queens. Just this year I pulled out my old varmint rifle and grudgling started doing some shooting again. Relive the memories, nothing wrong with that...In fact it helps. I'm not going to BS you... As time goes on it will get better...But not by much. My new next door neighbor has just recently got into hunting and after visiting with him is when I pulled my rifle out of the safe. I also joined a gun club last month and a young feller there wants me to help him learn how to reload. Look around. You've got years of info that you could pass along. Good Luck.
     
  13. Coyboy

    Coyboy Well-Known Member

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    Dick, I'm sure Gene would want you to carry on. The hunt is in your blood, the desire will return someday. Until then God bless you and Gene's Family.

    You were a Lucky Man to have such a wonderful friend for so long.
     
  14. hatfield954

    hatfield954 Well-Known Member

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    I totally can relate to you. I lost my hunting partner in march of this year. He had just turned 41 yrs. old. That's why I really haven't made up my mind, if I am going to hunt this coming season.