Let me preface this by saying that I realize that there are many folks out there who do not hunt and do not care for hunting. Being an animal lover I personally don't hunt and I never will. I just don't get the thrill in it however, there are those that do enjoy it so, when it comes to hunting I have always believed in the philosophy of "Live & Let Live". I don't want anyone telling me how to live my life and I don't tell others how to live theirs. When I lived in the city I didn't even think about hunting very much but when I moved to a small town in West Virginia that changed. Lots of people around here hunt. Many folks here feed their families by hunting, this is food that they might not be able to have otherwise. Schools here close for the week when hunting season starts. I mean it really is almost a religion around these parts.
Of all the people here that I know who love to hunt, one of them is very close to me. That person would be my grandson Christopher. Christopher is now 14, getting ready to turn 15 in just a few short months. Christopher started hunting with his Dad when he was very young and, in his short lifetime Christopher has accomplished more in the way of hunting than many people have accomplished in their whole lives. He has hunted for more animals than I can begin to name here and has been very successful at it. Recently he got a black bear (although not his first) and just received his wall mount back the other day...
I love Christopher very much and I am very proud of him. Christopher is mature well beyond his years but, then again I suppose he had no choice. You see, five years ago Christopher was diagnosed with leukemia. For the last five years Christopher has had to fight with everything he had just to stay alive. He has been sicker than I ever want to be and has had to struggle and fight far harder than I ever want to struggle and fight. During his worst days, during his darkest hours, Christopher would always think of hunting. It would bring him peace because that's what he loves to do. During his illness, when he was able, his Dad would take him hunting. This brought Christopher a welcome release from what was going on in his everyday life. When he was hunting he could just concentrate on hunting and nothing else. It brought a sense of normalcy back to his life. Again, he could be at peace.
Once Christopher started to get better his Dad contacted the Hunt Of A Lifetime organization. This organization's mission is to grant hunting & fishing dreams for children age 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses. It took a while but they set up a trip for Christopher to go hunting in New Zealand. After the long trip Christopher almost didn't get to go hunting, he got sick the first day he was there. Christopher was determined however and by the next day he was ready to go. On his first day out he spotted a stag. He followed this stag all day but could never get it. He saw others but he was determined to get this stag. On the second day he was successful and he got the stag. Christopher just got that mount back also a few days ago and, I mean to tell you, this thing is huge...
That's Christopher in the second picture (good looking kid, ain't he?). The doctors tell us that Christopher's leukemia is in full remission. They expect him to be okay from here on out. I have to believe that because the other possibilities are too horrific for me to begin to imagine. Christopher wants to be a taxidermist when he is older and I'm thinking he will be a damn good one. Now, I'm not saying that hunting saved Christopher's life, Christopher saved his own life by fighting as hard as he did to get better and by never giving up. Hunting however did give Christopher the ability to focus on something that would give him the peace and inner strength to go on and fight as hard as he could to rid himself of the disease. So I suppose that my opinion on hunting has changed somewhat and I see that there is good in everything, even if I don't see it on the surface at first glance. Hunting gave Christopher the ability to stay with us and I certainly can't argue with that. I can't imagine my life without Christopher being in it.
Our sons would get along splindedly! I probably mispelled that word. Mine has not had the opportunity to go out for the variety your son has. Not yet anyhow. He finds peace and comfort in the woods. He will go and sit at the base of a tree and think, cry, pray, whatever works for him. And hunt too. Nice to meet you Christopher and thanks so much for sharing this. :). LOL @ buyzjewelry
What a neat personal sharing. I'm pulling for Christopher to become a taxidermist later on. I have a old friend who hunts and has a den full of animals...they happen to be a bit creepy to me but to him they are his trophys. I love hearing about winning a health challenge...Yea Christopher!
Thank you all! These are not at my house, they are at "PapPaw's" house. There are three generations of hunters with many, many trophies on the walls. The first time I actually saw them I was a little shocked by them all but I'm used to them now. The numbers keep growing, I think "PapPaw" needs to build an addition, lol.
I have to say, I was like you. I was like eeewww, who wants dead animals in the HOUSE?? But for the last 3 years I have had to get used to it. The love of my life has been hunting since he was a kid. His family was poor and had 8 kids, and they did survive on what they killed. I got over the fact that we had dead animals in the house by "naming them" Why is it that if something has a name it isn't so strange?
Anyway, I know that being out there in the woods is one of the things that helped Christopher get better. My boyfriend goes with his brother once a year to Indiana to hunt. He comes back a totally different person. They commune with nature, and then everything in life is put back into proper perspective. I totally get it, and after reading your post you do too. Thank you so much for a story that reminds us all to stop bitching and moaning, because there is always somebody else that has it harder then we do, and has the dignity to just get on with it!!
Thanks again for a very inspirational story. Glad your grandson is ok!!! <3
Love your post. Continued good health for Christopher! You know who else would love this post? Ted Nugent, the rocker, is an avid hunter - not just for sport, but for food. What he & his family can't consume, he donates!
Thank you so much for sharing this. Beautiful post. :)
BeewitchingItems | August 10th 2011 at 1313010623
Although I could never hunt and shoot an animal, it seems as though it was the best thing for Christopher and I am so glad that you wrote this blog. I am also very glad that his illness is in remission and pray God that it will stay that way. And yes, he is a very good looking kid, you can be proud!
Actually Christopher mentions Ted Nugent frequently. While Christopher, his Dad and his PapPaw do have many, many mounts in their house they are all about the food. The meat is never just thrown away (like some trophy hunters do), it's always used either for themselves or given away to other families. Because of USDA and US Customs regulations they were not allowed to bring the meat from this stag home into the US however it was donated to a small village not far from the ranch where they stayed in New Zealand. Apparently this ranch (who hosts these Hunt of a Lifetime trips quite a bit) always donates the meat to this village because it is very much needed there...
I'm glad Christopher found something to take his mind off his illness. I am also glad you came back and posted that they donate the meat for food. I personally can not hunt. Not for lack of skill, as I do lack that, but because I love animals to an extreme point that I have a hard enough time buying meat in a grocery store. People laugh because I joke my meat is a pill in a package that gets watered and... poof... instant ground beef, pork chops, etc. I do shoot animals... with a camera! :)
What a beautiful post and what a beautiful grandson. He learned to disconnect from "life" and connect with nature. We should all be so lucky to have that ability, as this undoubtedly saw him through the darkest nights. Best of luck to Christopher and to you!
I can't hunt either, for a number of reasons...the biggest one being that I just couldn't do it. While Christopher is mighty proud of his mounts I'm not sure he would be the hunter that he is if it weren't for the food...
A guy at my church hunts deer every year. That's all they eat at their house is deer meat. His wife uses it in place of hamburger in all her recipes. I always tease him about shooting Bambi and tell him he's not supposed to kill Bambi, LOL.