Tapping Into the Old School - #3 “MOBILE ORIGINS”

November 22, 2022 5 min read

Tapping Into the Old School - #3 “MOBILE ORIGINS”

Diesel Fuel, Cigarettes, and Hank Williams - Grandpa's Best Spot 

By: Justin Hunold 

As I sit here and sip my coffee I’m looking at the picture I have of my Grandfather in my dining room. He’s sitting in a camp chair, orange hat and vest, plaid, and Browning Sweet 16 in hand. Not one of the newest editions of an A-5 either, but a bonafide Belgium Browning. It’s the week before my annual trip to hunting camp with my family, and looking at this picture I would be remiss if I didn’t explain where it all started and how it continued without a nod to the man in the picture.

My grandparents' home was always inviting, as long as it wasn’t grandpa’s nap time. The last time I was there all of their grandchildren and great grandchildren's senior pictures were still in a large frame in the entry room of their house on Slosson Road. I was in my 30’s by this time. We never knocked and there was always enough food for dinner or breakfast for anyone to share a meal. Any time you walked in there was a good likelihood Bev was in the middle of a puzzle or a western show and Stanley was tinkering around fixing something in the garage or watching the wildlife out of the back window.

When we sat at the table for dinner, more times than not the conversation turned to deer hunting. As a younger man my grandpa drove tractor trailers all over hell’s half acre and often when he did there was a shotgun in the truck with him. Where we lived you’d often find yourself in a place where you had to shoot at deer with a foster slug and not a centerfire rifle. So, most of the time any random side by side shotgun was in that tractor with him.

If there was anything my grandfather loved as much as deer hunting it was a good diner. He would go in, eat, drink coffee, smoke and hold court. No one and I mean no one could sling a story like Stan. This lifestyle was so ingrained in him, that he and my Grandma bought a business in the Adirondacks that housed a Diner, Ice Cream Stand, and Motel’s all in one lot. And for years they ran that business, and lived in a modest, very well kept, and always welcoming trailer behind the motels.

It was the opening day of gun season 2019. One of the coldest on record. I had just received my first Trophyline Ambush Light saddle in October and had used it in all my mobile hunting that season. I had covered three different states at that point and was happy to be on familiar turf in the first place my grandfather had ever sat me down by myself many many years before. Any of the previous years of my life and my grandfather would have been no more than half a mile away parked under a pine tree with his back to a posted line, but that wouldn’t happen ever again.

August 19th, 2018 my Grandmother Beverly Hunold passed away, and my Grandfather followed her on February  27th, 2019. There would be no more westerns, puzzles, fishing trips, meals at the table or hunting stories of rack bucks. The funny thing is before they passed Grandpa told each of us we’d know he was watching over us when we’d bag a big buck.

When I was too young to hunt in our home state my Grandpa had a pretty major surgery for an aneurysm. It was one that was considered a “Widow Maker”. Stanley was definitely a hypochondriac but he was also tough. So, when opening day fell just a few days after his surgery “bed rest” wasn’t an option in his world.

My dad and his siblings couldn’t get the day off of work so I was the next best thing. I was an able bodied teenager that could drag a deer. So, my normal letter of the law following my father took me to get a hunting license and verify I was old enough. So, that morning I camped under a pine tree with strict instructions that ”Your grandfather doesn’t touch a deer.”  He shot a six point that day, on a piece of public land that he found while out driving all over hells half acre many years before. That chunk of woods became one of my very favorite places in the world. And after that day I was allowed to hunt with the men in my family.

There in my Trophyline with my .270 in hand I thought back to that first opening morning. How this place was so important to me. How I figured out how to hunt on this lowly chunk of timber. This chunk of timber Stanley found, driving back roads in a tractor trailer, with a map, cigarette, country music and a shotgun.

Just then as the morning started to break, just as expected a lone doe came up the frontside from the bottom of the hill. She was on her way to the bedding thicket above me. There in my saddle, I used my tether to steady my aim. I anchored her at about 30 yards.

As the woods calmed down, and the echo of the muzzle blast settled into oblivion I heard it. The snow was a bit crunchy because of the cold snap. I spun around and looked up to the thicket where I heard the sound, and there was a buck. Settling the crosshairs and squeezing the trigger the buck fell. And just to make it a bit hard he slid downhill a bit.

After getting down I walked over to first the doe, and got her dragged up to a flat spot. Then, in the order that I saw them I went up to the buck. He certainly wasn’t the biggest buck, but he was my first opening day buck ever. As I bent over to grab him I smiled. Grandpa had a good sense of humor and could’t find a better way to tell me he was there. There in those woods I shed a tear of both joy and sadness when I grabbed that public land bucks six point basket rack. Just like that first buck with Stanley all those years ago. Can you dig it?

 

About: Justin Hunold is lifelong hunter from upstate New York, family man, and  enjoys educating and sharing information on the outdoors. He has been Trophyline ambassador for years, a consistent contributor to Trophyline since the first day of Trophyline’s rebirth in 2019. At his core, Justin Hunold is a Mobile Venatic through and through.



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