Deer hunting time for storytelling, reminiscing
It is only an orange cap you say. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that it is a symbol of one of Wisconsin’s many traditions—the annual gun deer season. A blaze orange cap is on the list of Wisconsin’s important symbols: Turkey – Thanksgiving. Christmas tree – Christmas. Fireworks – Fourth of July.
Especially in rural Wisconsin, never plan a wedding, a funeral, or anything else where you expect people to attend. They will not come. The men, and more women each year are out in the woods, wearing blaze orange, looking for a deer.
I must confess that I am part of the tradition. I hunted deer for the first time with my dad in 1946, the year I was old enough to buy a license. And I haven’t missed a year since—not even when I was in the army. These days, I hunt with my son, Steve, who hasn’t missed a year since he was twelve.
We also hunt with my brother Donald and his sons, Marc, Matt and Eric. Need I say that for our family, deer hunting, as it is for many, is much more than bagging a deer. It’s a time for storytelling and reminiscing: “Remember that 10-point buck you missed back in 82? Or that season when it was below zero every day?”
It’s a time to connect with relatives. It’s a time away from hurry-up lives we all have these days. Don’t tell anyone, but for me, it’s also a great time for a nap in the woods.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Deer hunting: A Wisconsin sacred tradition.
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to www.jerryapps.com