The third Saturday of August has always held a special place in my life. That is the opening day of squirrel season.
When I was a kid growing up in the head of McRoberts, it would be about this time of summer that all the old hunters would gather and plan their trips. Squirrels were found in McRoberts, but for some reason they hunted or tasted better from faraway places like Wolfe County or Pulaski County.
The old-timers would bring their Brownings or Remingtons to knock the rust from their barrels and to enjoy swapping tales. You could buy a Browning Auto 5 from the company store for $47 and no tax. That was lots of money then, but they were worth it.
They had two sets of hunting clothes, not anything like our hunting clothes of today. They had a khaki green and khaki brown set. Today we have all different types of patterns of camo, some with bug guard, some with scent blocker, some with silver, and then there are some that will keep you dry as well as warm.
When the hunter from yesteryear wanted to go to the top of a mountain, he got there the only way he could — walked, even if it was a mile or two. Today hunters turn down the best hunting areas sometime because they can’t put themselves across a $10,000 ATV.
The third Saturday will always be a special day for me, and I long to see the time it will return to its rightful glory. Gone are the days where 35 hunters from Letcher county would head to the Daniel Boone National Forest for a big hunting trip. It was the Cumberland National Forest then.
Gone are the little towns we use to pass through. They are all by-passed now. Vicco was always our first stop, London our last stop before the forest.
Tents, Coleman lanterns, and stoves were in style, and the kids sat and listened to the elders, and learned about the way of the woods.
These memories will forever be burned into my mind, but most important into my heart. Yes, the old saying is true, “You can’t go home again.”
August 17 will be here soon. Do us all a favor and take a kid squirrel hunting.