Hunting is often a multigeneration activity where parents, children, and sometimes grandparents all participate together. With the passing of the older generations, the younger generations take possession of some of their things.
The nostalgia of knowing how long something has been in the family or the knowing the stories involving it adds greatly to the value of possessing it. However, sometimes you need to ask yourself if it’s better to leave it at home.
As I have written in the past, my father passed away when I was only 13 years old. With this loss, I inherited a lot of things that were his. Some I got right away like the tools in the garage and others I would get a little further down the road.
That Christmas, my grandfather (my dad’s dad) gave me a Mossberg 500 shotgun that had been my dad’s when he was a teenager. It was in a camo soft gun case and had a bird barrel and a slug barrel. In the years following, I got my mom to buy a newer bird barrel that had screw-in chokes so I could put a super full choke in it to turkey hunt and began waterfowl hunting with it as well. When I turned 16 and could deer hunt, I put the slug barrel on and headed to my friend’s dairy farm.
As I walked to my position on a drive, I jumped a doe by their pond and when she stopped at 50 yards I managed to miss her 3 shots in a row with the iron sights (my first lesson in always shooting your gun before the season). After that happened, a new rifled barrel with a scope on it was added to my Christmas list. With the new barrels on my dad’s shotgun, I shot my first turkey, duck, goose, and white-tailed buck. After a day of pounding away at geese in the March resident goose season, I was cleaning the shotgun when I noticed some cracks where the receiver attached to the wood stock. As I looked them over, I realized that the stock would need to be replaced to be able to keep using the shotgun safely. Since I had started spending a lot of time hunting waterfowl in nasty weather, I decided a synthetic stock would be the smart option. While the shotgun looks different, it still functions so that I can carry the same shotgun my dad did.
As Schuyler County changed to allow rifles for deer hunting, I purchased a rifle and I have upgraded to a semi-automatic shotgun for bird hunting, I decided to put my dad’s shotgun in my gun cabinet. I have looked at replacement wooden stocks and think I can get one in the same color shade so I can restore the gun to look the same way it did when I got it over 14 years ago. Hopefully someday I’ll have someone to pass it on to.
Sometimes the item isn’t as big as a firearm, but it still reminds us of the person who gave it to us. When I started deer hunting, I carried a Buck folding knife that was my dad’s in my vest. One day I walked to a stand through a big brush lot and when I got to the stand, I noticed the knife had fallen out of my vest. I was devastated to say the least. I spent days and nights thinking about it.
The following spring, my friend told me that when his older brother was out looking for shed antlers, he found a knife near the stand by the brush lot. When I asked to see it because I thought it was my dad’s knife, he remembered me saying I had dropped it during the fall. It was my dad’s knife and when I brought it home, I decided it was time to keep it at home and to get another knife to carry while I was hunting. The replacement knife was given to me for Christmas by one of my uncles who doesn’t hunt, so whenever I use that knife I can think about how my uncle went out of his way to get a knife for me for Christmas.