These woods were suddenly different in ways previously unimagined. My grandfather and I were sitting side by side, our backs to an oak tree. We were in a small woodlot separating the pasture where the Lazar family kept their dairy cows from the back side of a row of country houses. I roamed this country after school almost every day for years, Crosman BB gun in one hand and Patches, the family mutt with just enough bird dog in her to point occasional grasshoppers as a puppy, at the other. Our routine was the same. We cut through the hayfield, peered into familiar groundhog holes to find familiar woodchucks staring back at us, crossed beneath the power lines that hummed in rain and snow, wriggled under the barbed-wire fence, skirted the Holsteins, then hit the woods. I shot stumps, tossed crabapples like I was throwing out a baserunner, explored a trickle of a creek. Now, though, I was hunting. For the first time. For real, with a license of my own and a borrowed single-barrel 12-gauge shotgun that reeked of potential lethality.
Fall 2020 • NBS OUTDOOR • 21
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