In the sport of hunting season coming up, I decided to write this blog in hopes of filling my time while my hubby, Jay, will be away fulfilling his passion - hunting. I want this to be a blog where all hunter's wives can go! We, wives of hunting men, often have to hold down the fort while our hubbies are gone. So in the sport of hunting wives all around the world, this blog is for you! It's for you to surprise your husband with a new wild game recipe after he gets back from a long pack trip or for you to impress him with new hunting lingo. But most importantly this blog is for you to know that you are not alone in this crazy thing called the life of a hunter's wife!
This first blog post is just my interpretation of being a hunter's wife. Each one of you may have slightly different experiences, but nevertheless, we are all in this together! So here's to you, my fellow hunter's wife! I hope you enjoy my blog and please feel free to email me or comment below for more blog ideas or questions for me!
So what is it really like to be a hunter's wife? Well, it's kind of…. crazily unique. Now, if you are like me and enjoy the outdoors, it may not be as bad as it would be for the poor woman who never saw a dead animal until she started dating her husband. But don't get me wrong, there are DEFINITELY days where I just wish Jay wouldn't hunt, but then I realize that's the man I fell in love with. I fell hard for a man who feels more at home in the woods than in our bed. I fell for a man whose favorite kind of challenge is packing out a 100+ pound backpack up and down steep mountains. But most importantly, I fell in love with a man who loves God. I often wonder where Jay and I would be in our relationship if it wasn’t for God. And if I'm honest, we probably wouldn’t be together. At the beginning of our relationship there were just too many God things to not realize he was the one and stick it through. But I'll save that story for another day.
Being a hunter's wife is all about sacrifices. I don't care what your man hunts or how long he is gone, there is always a sacrifice involved. We sacrifice sanity when we don't have a break from the kids, we sacrifice money, we even sacrifice love, but most importantly, we sacrifice time with our loved one that we can never get back. This is always where I struggle. I struggle to see Jay's justification in a week away from me. I sometimes even wonder if he still loves me like he used to. But then I think back to all the evenings and weekends that he has already missed to spend time with me, and my nerves settle. Trust me, the nerves are still there, but I somehow calm them down just enough to get through to the next day, and eventually Jay is back home in my arms. And that welcome home is always worth it!
Now I'd like to walk you through Jay's last elk hunt, that way you can see what "the life of a hunter's wife (but fiancé at the time)" looks like to me. We weren't even married yet but we were FOUR months away from the wedding, so what better time to go on a hunt than now, right? But ladies, it wasn’t a weekend hunt, or a week hunt, but a month long hunt. Meaning that by the time Jay got home I would have THREE months to run everything by him and tie up all my loose end with him. And I will be honest, for most girls, this would have been a deal breaker, but I basically had everything done and knew he needed this last major hurrah with his dad before we tied the knot. So here is how it went…
First, we need to discuss his prepping. Yes ladies, the dreaded packing day. For some reason men tend to think that it won't take them that long to pack everything up (especially for a month long hunt) but by the time the sun goes down, your lovely will have asked you thirty times for something that has been in the same place forever. I mean I was answering questions about where stuff was in his parents' house! Come on! Then you start asking them questions. Practical questions to us women but not to men.
"Honey, did you pack any extra underwear?"
"No, I have one for each day! That's plenty and I don’t want to weight myself down."
"What are you going to use to shower with? And did you pack your toothbrush? " (I just graduated from dental hygiene school, so this is a MAJOR thing for me)
"Well hopefully when we get to a good spot there will be a creek there to wash up in. And yes (with a groan) I packed my toothbrush"
Just about this time you go to ask another question and you hear a huff. This is when you know to leave the garage and let him handle it on his own. Besides he's "been prepping for this for days (aka hours)". This is also about the time I remind myself of all the reasons I would prefer not to go on the hunting trip with him. But usually my main reason is because he would just be gross. I mean I've had my fair share of showers in the creek but not showering for days on end is a little much. Especially if I'll be sweating bullets all day trying to keep up with him running through the mountains.
It's now the next morning and me being the ever-sleeper-inner, gets up hours before dawn to see my love off on his month long adventure. He drove to my house for one last goodbye embrace before he hit the road. I smother him with a bear hug and a kiss and tell him to call as often as he can. I watch the lights leave the drive and head back to bed, tired tears strolling down my face. Hours later I wake up and immediately check my phone to make sure he is okay. No texts = safe lovely, then I go about my day occasionally wondering what state he was in now. I repeatedly check my phone though, just in case.
If not at lunch, around 8 pm (or after dark), I'd usually get a text asking if I want to call. And I'd ALWAYS took him up on it! No matter what! Even though he's been gone for less than 24 hours, I am already starting to miss him. We'd talk for about an hour then hang up. And soon I'd go to bed. I feel that this, for me, is the worst part of long hunting trips. I hate knowing that I won't be able to see my love for the next 28+/- days. I hate that if I have a bad day I just can't call or text him right away to get some peace of mind. I miss him in the worst way and all I want at the moment is for him not to be so far away.
The next day comes and he is still driving. He texts me saying he should get there by midday and he will call if can get service once he arrives. Midday comes….. evening comes…. its dark…. and finally I get a call. "Honey! I made it! I got here at around (insert a random time) and I was driving around looking for service and scouting. Then I heard a bugle and had to check it out! Sorry it's so late! How was your day?" And everything is right with the world again. The stern talking to that I had replayed in my head all day about calling and being safe slowly faded away. He is okay and that's all that matters.
The days continue on like this, never knowing when or where you will get your next phone call. Mine are normally after dark when he is driving around looking for the next spot to hunt or when he had to run into town for something.
Then, I get it….. (cue dramatic music) THE CALL. He is completely winded, out of breath, and I can hear the shaking in his voice "Honey, I think I just killed one!" I literally shriek with happiness and tears are flowing down my cheeks. I know how much he looks forward to this hunt every year. I know how important it is to him. "That’s great Jay! I'm so happy for you! Did you call your dad? How big is he?" Again, there I go, blurting out questions left and right. "Wait, just tell me the story. I want to hear it all!" And I stand there (this particular time I was in Hobby Lobby) trying not to break down (even more) with joy. Jay had done it. He fulfilled his dream for the hunt and I couldn’t be more proud.
And that ladies, is why I "put up with" a hunting husband (fiancé at the time). It's his passion and his third love (to God and me). Those phone calls make the whole week worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I always wonder if the kill will bring him home sooner but I NEVER expect it to. I often wonder if I come second to hunting, but he doesn’t allow that to last long either. Besides, this is HIS dream and I do not want to be in the way of that.
Eventually he makes his way back home and the real "fun" begins: cleaning, sorting, and packaging the meat. Again, let me remind you that this was three months away from my wedding date and I have a whole elk to help process. And if you’ve ever tried to clean a quartered-out animal that has been in the woods for over two weeks, you know it isn't an easy task (even if it was in the cooler). For some reason, men have yet to come up with game bags that are virtually dirt resistant, resulting in hours of a picky fiancé cleaning the meat. But when it's all said and done, we will have a freezer full of meat for our new house, I have a happy love, and Jay has memories that will last a lifetime.
So to me, being a hunter's girlfriend, fiancé, or wife is all about being there, even when you can't in real life. Encourage them, love them, and be there for them (especially to help process the meat) and they will love you forever! <3
^This little tidbit was brought to you by none-other than our birddog Bo. Another perk to having a hunting husband is you get a spare cuddle buddy, even if you are trying to write a blog post.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my first blog entry. It's real, it's not fluffed up, and I genuinely do get that excited for my hubby (both when we were dating and now). But if I'm completely honest, there are just as many times that I just wish he could understand my frustration from his hunting excursions. But again, that will be saved for another blog. So if you liked this piece and the blog itself, go ahead and subscribe, comment below, or contact me! The more feedback the better! Thanks all and I hope you return for more!
A hunter's wife,