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Joined: 06/03/2010

         The sound of crunching on frozen ground could be a deer or something entirely different but the young hunter’s adrenaline was pumping up fast. As the spike buck came into view the “06” Springfield slowly rose up as the arms strained to hold the rifle steady on target. At the squeeze of the trigger the deer bucked up to run a few feet and then dropped. The kid shook with excitement and awe at the past few minutes which had led to this moment. A memory was formed that hopefully would last a lifetime.
         Memories are different for everyone but they represent an event that made an impact on our mind important enough to want to remember it in the future. Some memories are fleeting glimpses to our past and the vividness of those memories is dictated by the events and how important each was. Some memories can become distorted as time passes or we modify the memory to fit our present remembrance of it because the details may have been vague to start with. Two people who experience the same event in the past often remember that event differently and it usually is more favorable to each rememberer respectively.
          Memories were important in early history before written language and stories of great hunts or treks to follow game were told and retold around campfires (memories) and led to many ethnic histories and legends as time went on. Today we keep our memories not only in our heads but in our written records (electronic media too) to preserve our treasured past experiences for posterity. Memories are meant to be passed on to our descendants to continue our legacy as part of their memories for the future. Let us hope campfires never die out!
          I got an early start with memories listening to my Grandmother relate her history to me when I spent summers in her care at her ancestral farm. Her Dad and her husband had been avid outdoorsmen and hunted and fished from the time the farm was homesteaded and carved out of a still wild northern Wisconsin. I heard stories of deer and bear hunting and trapping on the river that ran through the property and fishing for all manner of fish in both the river and the lake that fed it. I marveled at the old catalogs for hunting and fishing supplies and the old guns that still resided at the farm.
         Outdoor people tend to have vivid memories of the adventures they have had in the wilderness; memories of great hunts or successful fishing trips or tough treks through unexplored territory to get to spectacular places are what make memories. Most deer hunters remember their first deer kill and most fishermen remember their first catch and from there it spirals into the future life of the person forming the memories. The more adventure one has the more memories that follow us into the future!
          In the opening paragraph I related the details of how I shot my first deer as a newly licensed 14 years old. Although it was a small legal spike buck it still ranks as my number one trophy of all time because it was my first deer. My first fish was a little bluegill I thought was huge (in reality probably less than a pound) that I caught on a cheap cane fishing pole while fishing with my Grandma at her farm. My first firearm was a .22 bolt action rifle that I shared with my older brother which I still have and each time I pick it up the memories of my summers roaming around the forests of the farm flood back to me like a torrent.
          An elk hunt in Idaho, an ibex hunt in New Mexico, a muzzleloader hunt at the deer camp in Michigan, trout from the small creeks in the U.P. cooked in butter with onions and a bit of seasoning or a winter cottontail spitted over an open fire that tastes like a million bucks all bring forth the memories of good times past. The thrill of all those things remains as vivid as ever no matter how old those memories are. I hope some of my memories in the form of these tales find their way to my offspring and get passed along to theirs as well.