Hunting Season: The Hunter’s Spouse’s Survival Guide

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I’ll preface this post by saying I’m brand new to figuring out how to survive my husband’s hunting season scene.

We have owned our beautiful property for almost six years, and this is my husband’s first year hunting on it. I’m incredibly thankful he’s local and only walking into the woods behind our house.Hunting season safety- child wearing a red cap and walking into a forest

I think something about the pandemic caused the survivalist side of my husband to bloom. In the event that food becomes as scarce and valuable as toilet paper, he wants to be able to hunt and provide. Let me tell you, it is incredibly impressive (and a turn on- but don’t tell him that).

I have heard stories of spouses disappearing for the months of November and December for hunting season. I’ve heard the deer camp stories, and about the insane time commitment, and the massive preparation that hunters undertake to ensure they come home with that venison stew meat.

Thankfully, my husband is still a new hunter so aside from the hour he spent at the sporting goods store (not an ideal waiting time or place for toddlers, FYI) he hasn’t devoted much time to the process. I feel pretty lucky to have extra time with my husband. This may sound sentimental, but that’s only part of the story. I need him so I can divide and conquer our little pack of kids to address their negative behaviors.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I treasure the time my husband is home.

His presence means extra time I can spend in the shower, without fear of one kid throwing the other down the stairs. Or, the extra time I can spend in my workshop crafting new holiday season signs and gifts. Or, extra time I can spend diverting my youngest away from my snack food towards my husband’s leftover pizza. Seriously, why can’t my toddler just eat his own food on his own dang plate, particularly when it’s exactly the same as what I have on my own plate?!

So, back to my husband waking up in the middle of the night during hunting season to bundle up and head out into the wild. Once I got past the initial safety concerns of coyotes, fishers, bobcats, bears, foxes, raccoons, raptors, and whatever other wildlife is in our backyard that we haven’t seen or heard, I refocus on spending another day alone with the kids.Dog lying by the fireside during hunting season

To some, my life is a dream. To me, it’s pretty dreamy- however, I get tired just like the rest of you working 9-5 jobs, except I‘m parenting and homeschooling, and my shift is pretty much 24/7 forever. My patience wears thin every day just like how I felt when I had a full-time job on any given Friday evening. I’m just as ready for that weekend to rest and relax, except instead I get to repeat the same arguments and snack fights with my toddlers.

So, how am I making it through this first family hunting season without my husband to help with our kids during an increasingly stressful time as the pandemic knocks on our front door again, and outings and play-dates are no longer safe?

  1. Build a fort. That’s right, a good ol’ fashioned blanket fort in the middle of the living room floor. This was one of my favorite activities as a kid. My daughter LIVES for forts. She loves to curl up underneath and binge whatever Netflix show or movie she’s obsessed with at the moment. She grabbed a bunch of books today and tried reading to my son while they were both in the fort together. My youngest, however, likes to turn our forts into obstacle courses he can jump over. Inevitably, the blankets fall down, both kids get upset, and the tears flow. Most importantly, it gives my kids a good 6 minutes of fun and entertainment.
  2. Binge Christmas movies. Welcome to the post-Halloween time of year when our Christmas spirit just appears. We are a die-hard Thanksgiving family. Typically, Christmas doesn’t come out in our house until the last piece of pie is finished and dishes are done after quality family bonding. This year, however, due to all the chaos and disruption, we need a little extra Christmas music, lights, and good-hearted movies that make us feel warm inside. Thank you, Netflix for providing free Christmas movie content I can turn on for the kids to binge. Now, I just need to find the DVD for The Polar Express and I’ll have my kids’ attention for days.
  3. Bake. We have been on a steady rotation of baking sugary desserts for a little while now, but I think chocolate chip cookies are on the menu this weekend. My kids absolutely LOVE baking. They love measuring and pouring the ingredients into the bowl and making a huge mess. I’m not sure I trust my toddler with the flour anymore though. She just saw a scene in a movie of flour throwing and commented how much fun it looked. I’m not trying to create an unnecessary mess here. Full disclosure, they aren’t actually that helpful and mostly get in the way while baking. However, with the right attitude, they love it, and it provides great entertainment for another 8 minutes.
  4. A walk in the woods. Just kidding. This was our normal go-to activity before hunting season, but due to the topic of this post, we’re postponing our walks in the woods until hunting season is over.

There are many more activities to choose from and maybe I’ll get to those next year when I’m not completely worn out and trying to nap during the kids’ quiet time. We might even attempt our monthly trip to Costco today, because who knows what will be left in the store by the time my husband comes home. Pandemic shopping, that’s a story for another day.

At the end of the day, I love supporting my husband in whatever adventure he wants to try.

Trust me, it’s not always easy. Hunting though is a great new opportunity for him to have his own self-care in the woods. For example, he came home this morning to the kids screeching and one kid crying. I almost wanted to kick him out the door so he could hold on to some sanity for the both of us.

jet flying over the mountains of Vermont Realistically, this may not be a resource guide, but rather a simple reminder to those spouses at home surviving through hunting season- you’re not alone. I think this can be a fun time to explore new ideas, new goals, and new adventures of our own.

How about you? What traditions or activities do you have to get through hunting season? More importantly, what kind of venison recipes do you have and love?!

Hunting Season: The Hunter’s Spouse’s Survival Guide

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Kelli Hier Pike
A born and raised Vermonter, Kelli got her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Vermont, then joined the Vermont Air National Guard, where she met her husband. After that, she got her Master’s Degree in Digital Forensic Science from Champlain College. She and her husband and bought a house in the woods with 30+ acres of land to raise their two kids (4 and 2), three dogs, two cats, six chickens, and three guinea hens. Kelli stays home with her kids and pets while running her own wood crafting business, Tabor Ridge Designs, during nap-times. Kelli occasionally writes for her own mom blog, Calm Collected Mom, because we can all dream. She doesn't always think of herself as a writer, but she often has conversations with people over similar life frustrations and wants everyone to know that they're not alone. Life is full of irritations and annoyances, but Kelli thinks that we’ll get through it with a great story to tell afterward!

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