I am originally from Pennsylvania, where I developed a love for the outdoors as a child, and a love for hunting as a young adult. It wasn’t always easy to fit hunts into a busy schedule as a busy mom, but I managed to get my share of hunting in, even during pregnancy for three of my four children, and during a serious health crisis from age forty, which lasted over a decade, and occasionally to this day.
I spent several years in South Carolina, where there was also a hunting culture, although quite different from Pennsylvania traditions. I learned to adapt and enjoy my new home, and as I have often said, as long as I can hunt deer, I can find my happiness.
Well, now my present home is on 240 acres of canyonland in South Dakota, and this place has been my biggest challenge yet. The climate is rather harsh, even for a Pennsylvania girl who is used to the cold, and since our land was sold out of trust from a reservation, and is still surrounded by reservation land, the culture shock has been, at times, almost too much to handle. We faced a lot of animosity the first year as many tribal members tried every trick in the book to intimidate, bully, drive us off the land. We survived a historic blizzard while still living in tents, and built a solid home the first winter, beating all the odds and the predictions that we would be gone by spring. Now we are pretty much left alone, and the good people in our lives far outnumber the bad. Best of all, the hunting is pretty good, once we learned how to navigate the draw system and make use of our landowner status.
Last year my daughter added trapping to her outdoor pursuits, and this year I am adding archery hunting. It is long overdue (and the subject of its own article someday soon), but I intend to take up the challenge and improve my skills. Who says you can’t teach a dog new tricks?
Articles by Judy Derrickson