The Blue and the Gray


A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.
– Ernest Hemingway

Here I sit within hours of (what I hope to be) the best trip of my bowhunting life and all I can do is reflect on the hilarity of trips passed.

My Georgia hunting trip has been the highlight of my season and primary source of outdoor adventure for several years. There is nothing quite like hunting in a foreign place, especially for a homebody like me. The moment my boots hit that red Georgia clay, I’m in another world, and I love every minute of it. Especially those that don’t go as planned – and there have been many in our case.

The occasional mishap is inevitable on any adventure and shouldn’t keep you up at night. These are the gems you’ll cache away forever. Whether its breaking your friend’s vintage Coleman lantern the first day of camp; walking several hundred yards past your stand and into a patch of greenbriar; or falling flat on your ass and sliding down a wet hill trying to climb into a hammock seat, the re-telling of your well-earned lumps will become the stuff of legend, swirling amidst the smoke of future campfires for years to come.

People enjoy and remember humor as much as success. We are born to fail as much as we are born to succeed and it is this failure that makes the successes all the sweeter.

Steve Angell (the resident Civil War historian of our camp) once dubbed this little hunt “The Blue and the Gray”, making light of our Michigan/Georgia origins. I thought it tongue-and-cheek at first, but its become more than just a catchy name for me.

Bowhunting is blue and gray, not black and white. The blue is the sweet – clear skies, cool breezes, the sound of rippling water nearby, an opportunity at an animal, the arrow hitting its mark – the best of circumstances every hunter strives for. The gray is the salt – an arrow in a tree, eating a can of “wedding soup” because there’s nothing else left at camp, rain on your last day in the woods.

While we strive for the blue, we should learn to embrace the gray.

So, I look forward to Georgia. I look forward to a week spent with close friends. I look forward to success. And I look forward to failure – every hilarious minute of it.

This year’s Blue and Gray hunt will be on Cumberland Island near the Florida/Georgia line and will be the furthest away from home I’ve ever hunted. We’ll be after pigs and deer and I have a good feeling I’ll connect with something this year (something edible anyway). Our little group will be short one Yankee, but I’ll do my best to pick up the slack. There will be a great story to tell either way. Stay tuned!


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