Thanksgiving has always been a holiday steeped in traditions and history surrounding the outdoors and the bountiful harvest it often provides. The holiday itself was started because the Pilgrims who founded our great nation had been befriended by the Native Americans who had shared their knowledge of the outdoors and helped them to survive.
Had it not been for the Indians and their knowledge of the outdoors and how to hunt wild game from the surrounding lands, our country may well have never gotten started. That is surely one reason that to this day, there are many outdoor traditions that are so closely tied to the Thanksgiving Holiday.
In the day and age of the huge retail and grocery stores we no longer have to hunt to provide a feast for our families. Heck, we don’t even have to leave the couch. A few clicks of a mouse or even a touch of the screen and we can have a fine meal delivered to our door in thirty minutes or less if we want.
This still doesn’t dampen the traditions and the ties that many of us have to the woods and its ability to provide for our families. Tradition is a big part of the reason that the West Virginia buck firearms season opens up the week of Thanksgiving each year.
This traditional date has become ingrained in hunters all across the Mountain State who plan annual vacations and travel around the holiday and the gun buck opener. Many families, mine included, see the first week of deer season as a family reunion of sorts.
Family members travel from all over the state and sometimes the country to gather and spend time hunting and catching up with family and friends they haven’t seen since last deer season. Oh, and if they are lucky, they might harvest a deer to provide a feast or two for their families.
Most will take some time off from the rigors of hunting to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast of turkey and all of the fixings. Some may even prepare a wild turkey they were lucky enough to harvest and have even more reason to celebrate and give thanks for the abundance the wilds around us have provided.
Thanksgiving isn’t just a time to give thanks for the blessings of deer season and the all of the bountiful harvests throughout the year. It is a great time to give thanks for everything that we have been blessed with throughout the entire year.
This year when we are giving thanks for all we have, let’s take a minute to give thanks for so many more things we take for granted. Let’s be thankful for those who took time out of their busy lives to teach us about the joys of the outdoors whether they were family, neighbors, or friends.
Be thankful for those who show interest and allow us to pass down the traditions and love of the outdoors, conservation, and stewardship. Be thankful for all of those who give up their time and energy to be champions for the traditions of hunting and wildlife whether it is their job or simply their passion.
Be thankful for the many many things that we have been lucky enough to enjoy each and every day and every day we get to spend in the woods.
This is a wondrous time of year as we kick off the holiday season and prepare to run headlong into Christmas and New Year’s. So, stop, take a breath and reflect on all that you have been blessed with and above all, be thankful!