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The Most Dangerous Game

Kelli McCarty Wall |  December 22, 2009

2286-HuntingWidowI am submitting this letter as a possible topic for your website. To my knowledge, this is the forgotten topic of hunting... and it is sure to bring lots of attention. Are you a hunting season widow? I’m a hunting season widow. I dated a hunter who used all the hunting tactics that any good man uses to get a “good one.” He put up an automatic feeder (Saturday night dinner dates complete with flowers and cards) to entice me to hang around. He rattled deer horns and used his best deer calls… phoning me at work to let me know he was “thinking of me,” and those phone calls in the night when love birds coo for hours about nothing. It was great. I was a complete deer in the headlights. I could not look away. So I did what any girl would do… I married him. I married a man who’d told me he liked to go hunting. I said that was nice. And that was the end of our conversation about hunting. I had a wedding to plan! 

Since I did not come from a family of hunters, I didn’t know what I was marrying into. I had no idea that that statement was my only warning about the days, the nights, the weekends and the whole seasons that I would spend without him. In our first week of marriage, we moved from a big city to a small town. He unloaded all our belongings into our first apartment, carried me over the threshold and kissed me. It was all so romantic. I couldn’t wait to open to our beautiful wedding gifts and decorate our new love nest. Our cabinets filled with sparkling new china and the linens were neatly folded and put away. I spread a new doormat to welcome our first guests. It was so exciting. While I was unpacking to start our new lives, my husband was packing as well. Little did I know that official sunrise the following morning was the all-important “Opening Day of Hunting Season.”  I was surrounded by boxes and wrinkled newspapers when he announced with the excitement of Christmas morning that he would be leaving for his first big hunt of the season on what would be our sixth day of marital bliss. What entered my mind was the rewarding career, the friends and the life that I’d traded to be abandoned. I’d changed my name, my life and my plans to find myself in second place to a family tradition that was in his blood.

I was in shock. I screamed. I yelled. I cried. I did what any young bride would do… I went a little crazy. I pleaded with my husband, “Help me understand!” He looked down at me as I begged him not to go. Through my tears and devastation, his justification still haunts my very soul. “All the old men at the deer lease say that I shouldn’t worry if you’re upset now, because someday you’ll be glad when I go hunting,” he said. “They said someday you’ll even pack my stuff for me and won’t even miss me.” With that, he shut the door as my tears fell to the floor. I had become a hunting widow, instantly.

On our 10th wedding anniversary, I was still in second place. But there were flowers and a sweet card. What I wanted was a nice romantic weekend away from kids and my daily life. Maybe I didn’t yell my request loud enough, because now he and his father are enjoying each other’s company on a nice four-day weekend away from the kids and the daily grind, relaxing by the campfire and telling hunting bedtime stories. Yes, this is year number ten, and in those years I have learned many things about my husband and his mistress that is the great outdoors.

I have seen my husband actually set up an automatic feeder and a trail camera to photograph animals in their natural setting. This is the same man who will rarely hold a camera in his own living room to photograph his wife and children in their natural setting. He can sit quietly in a deer stand waiting, watching and looking… at nothing, with only the hope of catching glimpses of wild things. Yet he will not sit quietly to enjoy (or support my enjoyment of) an on-stage performance or a movie.

Most of all, I’ve learned that he was right, I don’t miss him. I do enjoy the peace and quiet that those wise old hunters spoke of. I relish not cooking big dinners, not getting the kids to bed early and watching TV that does not include gunfire and hunting.  

Ironically, my husband has learned that he misses his family more and more. For some reason, it is becoming harder for him to leave to go hunting. For our anniversary next year, he’s suggested that we should spend some time alone. I said sure, “Go hunting and you can be alone. I have a girl’s weekend planned.

"You’ll get a postcard!”

Editor’s Note: With prayers for safe and peaceful hunting seasons to hunters and hunting widows worldwide, writer Kelli McCarty Wall requests your hunting widow stories to Visit this talented writer's website at

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