Finding the meaning that serves as the foundation of Wisconsin deer hunting in just the right spot

A simple ground blind parked on a convenient boulder, sure, but this hunting spot carries more meaning and substance than might first be noted. (Photo by Dan Durbin)

There’s just something about a “spot” when you hunt on opening day. There’s a trail you expect the buck to come through. There’s a ledge you hope that a deer will walk on. And when you are a mentor for a son, the antlers make no difference whatsoever.

I have had this “spot” for the last three years.

The “spot” was a lone boulder that sat on my dad’s land in Baraboo. It was as if God himself planted it on the 10 acres of woods my dad and my stepmom, Winnie, call their summer home.

I can still remember scouting out the area when they bought the place three years ago. We hit the woods and scanned out the area and the boulder stuck out like a Bears fan at Lambeau field. But, of course, the difference was that the “spot” was not obnoxious like a Bears fan. This rock was stoic, quiet, and had meaning.

In other words, it was perfect.

The blind on the boulder was complimentary, not an interloper. The “spot” suggested that it needed an accessory, which in our case was a hunting blind. Popping up the blind made the boulder whole; it made it complete.

Last year, it offered up a nice 10-pointer just minutes into the season, and to honor the “spot,” the buck’s head now rests on our wall.

But the thing is, the “spot” was not there for trophy hunting. It was not there for seeking a “shooter.” The “spot” was there for time spent with a father and son to talk, to laugh about the baseball season, to comment on the card game the night before the sit.

The “spot” is something that we, as hunters, hopefully all have, because there is nothing about it that states a size of a buck that is “worthy” of pulling a trigger. This “spot” is far more than that. It’s hallowed ground that reacquaints fathers and sons who don’t always get along. The “spot’” is neutral ground that tends to give stubborn kids and strict dads a place for a Geneva Convention, of sorts. It’s a place to be at peace with one another and accept good and bad things about each of us.

It’s perfect.

It’s true.

It’s what hunting is all about.

It’s what celebrity hunters on TV should really focus on – not just the antlers.

We did not shoot a deer this year at our “spot,” but the food ate well and the games of Texas Hold ’Em dealt well with my dad, Winnie, my sister Kristen, and her boyfriend Josh, bluffing, taking pots, and sipping adult beverages.

The “spot” was perfect, despite a deer not being on my rack on the way home.

Hopefully, hunters will relish the “spot” and not the harvest.

While a big buck down is fun, the “spot” is something that will live on beyond our years. The “spot” is a foundation for what will keep hunting alive and well in Wisconsin and other states. The “spot” is what we should all relish and what I hope drives us, as hunters, to continue to pursue this passion.

The “spot” is what makes this not a hobby and more of a lifestyle.

Thanks for the “spot” Dad, and all that you have given my sister and I, because of the memories that will live forever.

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