Photos & Story by Lillie Powers
Growing up, it was understood that Wednesdays and Saturdays were dedicated to hunting. Those were the days that Dad would be MIA and most likely out of reach, even if an important call needed to be made. This also meant that if I had a church league basketball game on a Saturday afternoon, he would come walking in, in full head-to-toe camouflage. This was always something that was extremely embarrassing to me as a kid, but I quickly grew to appreciate it. As it turns out, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I tend to be seen wearing a similar get-up on any given weekend during the fall.
It wasn’t until my later high school years that I became curious about hunting. When I was younger, it never really interested me, and I just looked at it as something my dad, brother and their friends did for fun. It wasn’t until my dad dragged me out to the hunt club, my junior year of high school to learn how to shoot a gun, that my interest really struck.
I remember driving out to the club that day and the views of beautiful green fields passing by and the way the trees leveled the skyline really resonated with me. Along with that, I remember pulling up to the club house and thinking to myself, “Wow, this place, I could stay here forever.” The cabin has a rustic feel with an immense collection of hunting paraphernalia from duck decoys to pictures, all in a spacious layout overlooking a large pond where the sun sets just right, if you can catch it in time. And for me, that is where I found peace.
Today, my dad says that he created a monster. I think he quietly regrets ever taking me to shoot in the first place, to be honest, because now he has a forever hunting companion that always begs him for a spot in the blind on Saturdays, even when there isn’t any room. But because I know he enjoys having a daughter who hunts, he always makes it work.
Hunting is something special that my dad and I share. Growing up, I was definitely a momma’s girl and was always attached to her hip. But as I got older, hunting formed a relationship between Dad and me that will forever be there. He is my best friend (I love you too, Mom!), and my best hunting companion, even when he criticizes my shot. Hunting together has given the two of us so many memories. From introducing him to Chris Stapleton on a slow morning and blasting some good ol’ country music in the blind, to the unfortunate morning where I single-handedly managed to get my thumbnail stuck in the gun – the duck blind has seen everything from lots of laughter and high fives to painful tears and panic.
Not only has the blind brought us so many memories, but the trips to and from Rimini have as well. As we approach the club each weekend, Dad and I sing along to “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.” Still to this day, I don’t know why we play it, but it has become somewhat of a tradition. It’s also been decided that it will be the song that is played for the Father/Daughter dance at my wedding, although my mom refuses to let that happen. But I think she might just have to get over that.
Safe to say, hunting with my dad has really made an impact on my life. It’s shown me that girls can have just as much fun hunting as guys do. It’s taught me a lot of patience and it’s made me understand that cold can indeed be all mental. It’s given me such an appreciation for nature and the beauty of sunrises and quiet — and it’s also helped me to really find a passion for wildlife photography. All these are great, but at the end of the day, I think most importantly, hunting has given me the best relationship and memories with my dad that I get to keep forever. And that’s definitely something to hold on to.
NOTE from the staff of South Carolina Wildlife magazine: Lillie Powers’ duck hunting story is also featured in the November-December 2018 edition of South Carolina Wildlife magazine!
If you are a college or high school student who has an outdoor story and/or photographs you’d like to share on www.SouthCarolinaWild.org, just email SCW magazine managing editor Cindy Thompson at email@example.com or click Submit. Selected submissions will appear on SouthCarolinaWild.org and may also be spotlighted in South Carolina Wildlife magazine!