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Big Fin

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Today we released an episode on our YouTube channel that came with some trepidation for me. It was a deer hunt back home where I grew up in Big Falls, Minnesota. I was there to help raise money to get our school a shooting team, being they were one of the few schools in MN without one.

The trepidation came from trying to tell a story about my Dad, in a way that would show his good sides and the positives I inherited from him that I didn't realize until he had passed. He died of alcoholism at age 62, with the last ten years of his life being borderline non-functioning. Being the oldest of three, I got to see some of the ugly parts that cost him his marriage, many friendships, his business, and the land he lived on. Due to his drinking, he and I didn't have that great of a relationship, other than hunting season when he seemed to be able to lay off the jug for a while.

Since his death in 2004, I've grown to be more mature and understanding of the struggles people have and the difficulty life's challenges can be for them. I've let go of the rough memories caused by his drinking and associated disruptions. I've found many parts of my life that he has influenced, most of which were hunting and outdoors. I struggled to understand his ways at the time, but the benefit of age and memories has made it easier to see what he was trying to accomplish, however interrupted his life was by drinking. I wish his life would have been different, yet in a strange way, I am thankful for all that those experiences, both good and bad, taught me about life and about him.

The crew had been after me for a few years to go home and try to tell the story of hunting culture, sharing, community, and the old camps that mean so much to so many. Here it is.

 
The small town I grew up in just north of the cities was a wonderful place to learn and mature but our family had a lake cabin between Nashwauk and Effie that had even more influence on my life. My grandpa, a couple of uncles and friends built it in 1962 and it is still in the family. Our direct family spent Memorial weekend, Labor Day weekend and a couple other weekends there. There were ten of us kids. When I got to be 12 or so I also was allowed to go up for the fishing opener, deer opener and once or twice for grouse hunting. If you added up the days spent there they are a small portion of my youth but have the bigger impact on my life. I started guiding here in Idaho when I was 26 years old in 1988 and am still at it. Grandparents, parents and all the aunts and uncles are gone now but they live in my memories centered around family and the outdoors. My cousins use the family cabin now so last year I bought a lake cabin between Effie and Togo. I cannot use it as much as I would like as living in Idaho puts a damper on weekend trips over there but we get there as we can and use it as a VRBO the rest of the year. I know I jump on you sometimes Randy about the outfitting industry, landowner tags and other topics but having grown up in the same atmosphere you did I fully understand your points of view even if I disagree at times. Thank you for the good video, the memories and instilling more firmly in me the desire to continue on with "our" Northern Minnesota culture.
 
Since his death in 2004, I've grown to be more mature and understanding of the struggles people have and the difficulty life's challenges can be for them. I've let go of the rough memories caused by his drinking and associated disruptions. I've found many parts of my life that he has influenced, most of which were hunting and outdoors. I struggled to understand his ways at the time, but the benefit of age and memories has made it easier to see what he was trying to accomplish, however interrupted his life was by drinking. I wish his life would have been different, yet in a strange way, I am thankful for all that those experiences, both good and bad, taught me about life and about him.
Thank-you for that very meaningful reflection.
Similarly, my Dad as the most intelligent and personable man I've known, suffered and ultimately grew fatally ill due to many years addicted to alcohol. My older brother likewise with so many talents ... 'could have played college baseball or basketball ... suffered from alcoholism and tobacco addiction, which led to a much too young death. He was the consummate mule deer hunter and taught me to love the hunt.
It is so important to reflect on the wonderfully positive aspects of lives affected by addiction, but otherwise well lived.

Your stories so well and meaningfully expressed resonate with so many and are greatly appreciated. Randy, God bless you and your healthy platforms of expression.
 
So many people are affected by alcoholism in one way or another. I've had family members that went through it.

In the past couple of years I started to do a bunch of fundraising events and donate fishing trips to a faith based recovery program in MN that has the highest success rate. It's incredible how much they're helping people. They don't receive any government funding since they're faith based. So everything they do is based off donations and fundraising. It is extremely satisfying to meet current clients who are in the program and listen to how it's changing their lives for the better.

Great video and reflection. I hope MN lets us take some wolves soon to help the deer herds further north. I've traveled through Big Falls many times, but have never actually stopped there!
 
Today we released an episode on our YouTube channel that came with some trepidation for me. It was a deer hunt back home where I grew up in Big Falls, Minnesota. I was there to help raise money to get our school a shooting team, being they were one of the few schools in MN without one.

The trepidation came from trying to tell a story about my Dad, in a way that would show his good sides and the positives I inherited from him that I didn't realize until he had passed. He died of alcoholism at age 62, with the last ten years of his life being borderline non-functioning. Being the oldest of three, I got to see some of the ugly parts that cost him his marriage, many friendships, his business, and the land he lived on. Due to his drinking, he and I didn't have that great of a relationship, other than hunting season when he seemed to be able to lay off the jug for a while.

Since his death in 2004, I've grown to be more mature and understanding of the struggles people have and the difficulty life's challenges can be for them. I've let go of the rough memories caused by his drinking and associated disruptions. I've found many parts of my life that he has influenced, most of which were hunting and outdoors. I struggled to understand his ways at the time, but the benefit of age and memories has made it easier to see what he was trying to accomplish, however interrupted his life was by drinking. I wish his life would have been different, yet in a strange way, I am thankful for all that those experiences, both good and bad, taught me about life and about him.

The crew had been after me for a few years to go home and try to tell the story of hunting culture, sharing, community, and the old camps that mean so much to so many. Here it is.

I really enjoyed the episode. Brings back memories of old deer camps with friends and relatives. Some memories not so good and others that were priceless. Nobody is perfect including me. Although I forget that sometimes. Thanks for sharing.
 
Thanks for sharing Randy. Lots of parallels there with my life - dad and younger brother committed suicide, mom and older brother pretty much did the same thing thru substance abuse. Focusing on the positive aspects of their far too short lives, as well as how both the positives and negatives of those situations influence who you are today, certainly helps one accept and cope with things. Knowing that others have persevered similarly tragic situations also helps.
 
This brought back a lot of good hunting memories for me with my dad. I miss hunting with him a lot, but am excited to carry on the hunting traditions he taught me with my own kids.
 
I watched it on FT+ a few weeks ago. Loved the episode. I have some ties with people in that community and hunted with family a bit south of there. The stories and the feel of deer camp resonates the same for our group as it showed for yours. Lots of similarities to experiences I’ve lived and was a wonderful episode to enjoy. Sharing it with a few friends and some family!
 
Watched it last night and really enjoyed it. I learned to hunt in Ohio and Michigan and was involved in a few pushes. Nobody I hunt with does them anymore and we typically just sit and wait for the properties around us to get pushed.
 
I too am a alcoholic , but sober since 91 . I grew up in Michigan and hunting camp was full of drunks , all great guy's , just drunks .

I will never forget being told , "I think your feet stink and you don't love Jesus "!

Still , you're lucky you had a dad that wanted to spend time with you , remember the good times , let the rest go .
 
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