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  • Michelle Haskell

LIFE AS A HUNTER’S WIFE //

My husband left me again.


The back story: I chose to marry a hunter. Someone who has lived and breathed hunting since he was a kid. It’s not a part of who he is, rather it is who he is. Once we knew we wanted to spend forever together, closing the long distant gap between us was our biggest obstacle. When the reality of choosing where to live became a real discussion, my husband unfortunately drew, or more appropriately, was given the short straw. However, as he always does, he negotiated and the terms of our living arrangement are as follows: I get to live close to my folks, so long as he gets to go on a hunting trip every year. Fair. It was a done deal.


We are now in our 3rd year of marriage and I’ve held up my end of the bargain. Three years, third hunting trip. I try very hard to not complain about his obsession, ahem, hobby - and to encourage and support him with his one true love... hunting. But I hear much too frequently... How do you put up with it? He’s hunting.. again? Do you really have a husband? What time will he be home? You let him go? He’s where? He’s gone for how long? Are you sure you’re still married?


I’m here to tell you, yes I’m okay with it, yes I’m still married, and yes I love being the wife of a hunter - most days anyway.


So here we are. My husband left me again. While he is away on his annual hunting trip, I thought I’d give you my take on life as a hunter’s wife.


// It gives me a “break” when he’s on his hunting trip. Of course, I miss him and I’d rather have him at home, but I don’t feel obligated to make the bed every morning and can get away with eating cereal for dinner.


// The hardest part about being married to a hunter, for me personally, is going to church without him. However, I also know when he is hunting, he is the most mindful of himself – the place he finds the most peace – where he prays, reflects on life, thinks about his family and friends, and is emotionally calm. I know he is closer to God in a tree stand than he ever will be in a church pew.


// Hunting is only seasonal… ahem… very seasonal. Dove season. Deer season. Turkey season. Elk season. Varmint season. Duck season. And I’m sure I’m missing a few. Wife season only last 24 hours, which coincidentally falls on my birthday. And I didn’t even mention fishing… Hunting season never ends.


// Buying things for my husband is relatively easy – anything camo will do.


// If this is his worst habit, then so be it. He’s providing food for our family and includes our kids in as much as he possibly can. He takes them to feed the deer, check his cameras, plays with them in the blinds, teaches them about nature and the animals, hikes the land with them, trips to Cabela’s, and anything else he can. They love going with him and our oldest is only two – who very cutely was able to say deer before mama (insert annoyed face emoji here). I honestly can’t wait for them to be able to go hunting with him and neither can he.


// It’s harder on him than it is on me. He’s in a remote area, no phone service, and no communication with his kids. This time for more than 10 days. Enough said.


// I never have to worry about doing his laundry with my clothes, or additionally doing his hunting laundry at all… the very potent scent of tide might scare the deer away.


// There is always a story to tell. He could write a book of campfire stories. I don’t know how he does it, but he can make a connection with anyone and everyone talking about the outdoorsman activities, swapping stories, reliving adventures, learning new information - and he truly enjoys hearing the same from others.


// His love for hunting has also created a love for the great outdoors, nature, the land, the environment, the ability to adapt to all climates, and everything else associated with it. He appreciates the majestic outdoors, the breathtaking scenery, and the solitude and beauty that surrounds him watching the woods wake up. The sunrises and sunsets he’s witnessed are an immeasurable part of his life.


// Hunting makes him happy. The days leading up to his big hunting trip, he is excited. Prior to leaving and upon his arrival home, he is even more helpful around the house than he normally is, which makes me happy. He comes home refreshed, relieved, and even happier than when he left, which also makes me happy. And did I mention if he shoots a buck? He’s on cloud nine. Seriously, the happiest guy in the entire world. And how can I not be happy about that.


// I really don’t understand how sitting a tree stand, in silence, in the freezing cold, for hours on end is a good time, but to each their own.


// He’s made new friends. One couple in particular, we only know because they let him hunt on their land. They’ve witnessed our kids grow up thus far. My husband helps them out with various chores throughout the year. We’ve met all their children and grandchildren. We send them Christmas cards every year. Our family has made friends with their family, which is a gift within itself, and if it wasn’t for his hunting, we would have never crossed paths.


// Our house is decorated with antlers, fur, feathers, nature prints, wood accents, and more deer heads than I ever thought was possible, which I secretly love. I’m not even kidding when I say the main color of paint on the walls of our home is called hunter’s hollow – thank you Sherwin Williams.


// He’s learned so much about life thanks to hunting. Patience. Intensity. Strength. Compassion. Dedication. Tolerance. Determination. Independence. Remorse. Pursuit. Discipline. Trust. Appreciation. Perseverance. Safety. Confidence. Grit. Vigilance. Integrity. Resilience. Celebration. Respect. Gratitude. His passion for hunting has made him a better man, a better husband, and a better father.


// Hunting is a family tradition. It started much before his great grandfathers, who passed it down to his grandfathers, to his father, to him. His love for hunting becomes more nostalgic with every passing day. It’s something he is proud of and honored to have the knowledge and skill to do. The best part about this is our children are now a part of this tradition, and my husband will be able to continue this family legacy through them.


// For my husband, the real prize in hunting is the experience and adventure of it all and getting to spend quality time outdoors with his friends and family. Although it’s not always easy being married to an avid hunter, there are so many wonderful things associated with this lifestyle. And even though I am already ready for him to come home, I know he is right where he is supposed to be – in the great outdoors with some good friends he considers family. I can’t wait for his arrival home to hear about his trip and all that he’s encountered, including the mishaps, the adrenaline rushes, the new people he’s met, and the scenery that surrounded him – all part of the memories he will possess forever. I am so thankful he is able to be on this trip and I am so proud to be the wife of a hunter.