Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time

The good people made up for the jerk

We continue to paint our picture of life in rural Vermont this week by looking at the “outfitters.”

An outfitter is a guide who tries to put you where the animal you are hunting is at the time you are hunting. I have used them for a good many years now,. They provide you with three square meals a day and a place to lay your head at night. The outfitter I used for my Vermont bear hunt was Cabins in the Wild, which offers guides for bear, deer and moose hunts.

Once you book with an outfitter you are at their mercy for the time you are with them. In all my years of using outfitters, only a couple turned out bad. Those are the ones that don’t stay around long.

Cabins in the Wild is a new operation, owned and operated by Steve and Dan Barbour, who have been in business four years. Steve’s wife, Judy, does the cooking and cleaning. She keeps the lodge so clean, as our old saying goes, you can eat off the floors. The meals she makes are world class. Breakfast was at 4 a.m. sharp, and of course there was anything and everything to eat. I can’t say enough good about her. Lunch was just as good and was on the table at noon. Then there was supper and what a spread that was — salads, steak, barbecue ribs and anything else you would want to eat and drink. It was served at eight.

But there is more to being an outfitter than feeding the hunter. I can still see my guide, Dan, walking without a flashlight along the mountain passes and how he took his time to show me bear marks on beech trees where they climbed to get nuts. My heart jumped when he got us within 12 yards of two bull moose. Those things are huge.

Although I never went on a hunt with Steve, the hunters he guided had nothing but praise for his work. I had never met any of them before my hunt, but I was still treated like family. I met two fellows at the lodge. One was Mike Rock, a cool guy with an even cooler name. We are staying in contact with each other. He was there bow hunting and he had a blast. Mike lives in New York State.

The other fellow — we will call him John — would like to shoot the majority of our people in Letcher County because we are Democrats. No matter where you go or what you do these days you will find crazy people. John has yet to learn a lesson in life that most of us learned years ago — that we love each other in our little county not because of which political party we belong to, but because we all need to live together in peace.

My best buddy Raymond Brown, who I love like a brother, is on the other side of the political fence from me, but I am sure if anyone took offense with me they would need to go after Raymond as well.

I can’t say enough good things about Cabins in the Wild outfitters. They are a great bunch and I hope to hunt with them again. Next week I will conclude my Vermont hunt.

Give someone a hug today. It might be the only one they will get.

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