Behind The Lens

A Hunter’s Widow, Married to a Hiking Widower

Southwest Missouri resident Jessi Dreckman, who is married to an avid hunter, says deer season for non-hunting spouses shouldn’t be spent inside as “the hunter’s widow(er).” Instead, she urges those individuals to learn to love their spouse’s passion for hunting, and to get outdoors and find their own passion.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to spend 15 minutes, tupperware container in hand, trying to trap a red wasp that had wandered itself in my bathroom in order to take it outside and release it safely.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to spend the morning cooking warm oatmeal and delivering it to the hen house out back when there is two foot of snow on the ground, just to warm the bellies of my little egg producers.

I’m the type of woman who releases fish I catch. Even the really, really big ones.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to relocate the snakes I find in our yard down the road a ways instead of taking the shovel to them.

So, my love for hunting may not be immediately apparent to those who first meet me. But in addition to being that type of woman, I’m also the type of woman who fell head over heels in love with a hunter – and therefore, hunting itself.

My husband Drew and I have been together through thick and thin for 13 years, ever since our first date when I was just 16 years old. We’re opposites in many ways, but our mutual avid love for the outdoors that unites this opposites-attract couple in a way nothing else can.

So when the air turns cool and crisp and the leaves start to brown, I try not to hark on the fact that the season of being a hunter’s widow begins. Don’t get me wrong, the time my husband is home during September through February is minimal, but hunting season is also backpacking season. So it’s a time of adventure for both of us in different ways.

So, while Drew is waking up before dawn to find his way to a tree, I’m waking up shortly after to the trail head. When his heart jumps to the sound of the crinkle of leaves beneath him, my heart is pumping from hiking fifteen miles with a 30 pound pack on my back. When he is in his deer stand, close to the heart of nature, I am on my feet under the treetops, heart just as full. And when we do have precious moments together, we spend it with one another in the outdoors. My heart-pumping orienteering trip through the forest is an opportunity for Drew to scout for deer. His trip to put up a deer stand is an opportunity for me to tag along and test out my new hiking boots. And when he’s made a kill and we sit down to butcher and process deer, we share our separate stories of our adventures with one another. And we love every minute of it.

The truth is, although we spend our time in different ways, our hearts are very much the same. Through our time outdoors we’ve developed patience, determination and passion – and our love has only grown.

So to all of you fellow non-hunting spouses out there, please don’t spend hunting season alone focusing on your partner’s lack of presence. Instead, use those precious moments to go do what you love. Because when you find your own way to feel that same passion and fire, you realize it isn’t specific to any one hobby – those traits translate to life and love too. Get out there and find what makes your soul come alive!


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