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Opening Day

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Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he’s a good storyteller for a long time… so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts. Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen… whichever you prefer… and you are receiving a copy because you’re a current customer of Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!




When my brother, Dan, was 13 and I was an energetic 12-year-old, my dad decided it was high time we had our own shotguns.

He must’ve recognized my deep burning desire to become a deer hunter, so he was determined to make it happen.

After Dan and I earned our hunter safety certifications, dad took us to Bill’s gun shop and bought two 20-guage shotguns.

A Remington 1100 for me and an Ithaca Pump for my big brother.

It was a dream come true.

An image of the woods at sunset. Across the top are the words

We knew an old plumber named Tom who used to work at our family’s store. He owned a piece of land and opened it up for us. It wasn’t very big, but to us, it was heaven… and it was home to some pretty fantastic deer.

Our hearts pounded with excitement as we ventured into the woods, chose the perfect spot for our deer stands, and watched Dad mark trails so we could find our way out in the dark.

Then, the first glorious day of hunting season, we grabbed our shotguns and made a beeline for Tom’s land. It wasn’t too long before I spotted a few does strolling through a draw near a marsh.

I was perched up on a hill next to a towering tree with a little campfire crackling nearby. I desperately wanted to take a shot! But those does were too far out of range, and I only had a buck tag.

And then, in a heartbeat, it happened! A spike buck materialized out of the thickets, stealthily creeping closer with each passing second. My heart raced with exhilarating anticipation. My trembling fingers tightened around the trigger and, with a deep breath, I released a shot that split the air.

An image of the woods at sunset. Across the top are the words

But, oh, the cruel twist of fate! The deer, as if propelled by some mystical force, darted away in a flash. I felt a mix of disbelief and frustration as my heart thundered inside my chest. My wildest dreams of being a successful hunter dematerialized right before my eyes.

As I ran after that buck, my big brother Dan had a similar experience with another buck! My dad hearing us the whole time, got a kick out of our “buck fever.”

That turned out to be the only opening day I ever spent hunting with my dad and brother.

An image of the woods at sunset. Across the top are the words

Life kept our dad busy with work and such, and those father/son hunting trips became rarer than hen’s teeth.

I would go hunting with friends, and, later, with my uncle. It was always fun, but I missed having my dad by my side.

It wasn’t until the early 1990’s when I was able to start taking my dad hunting again. From that point on, every year, we’d head out into the wild and make a mess of memories.

By the way, I still own that ol’ 20-guage Remington 1100. It’s tucked away safe and sound in my gun locker. I still take it out at least once a year, usually for some grouse hunting.

That shotgun isn’t just metal and wood; it’s a treasure… a reminder of my father’s love.

An image of the woods at sunset. Across the top are the words “that shotgun isn’t just metal and wood; it’s a treasure… a reminder of my father’s love.” ” width=”733″ height=”386″ />

My dad wasn’t wealthy, especially with nine kids to look after… but he made a mighty big sacrifice so that my brother and I could experienced the wonders of the wild.

When I look at that shotgun, I remember dad’s dedication, wisdom, and love for the great outdoors. He was serious about his duties and obligations, but when he stepped into the woods, he became a kid again, filled with wonder and joy.

I wish he could’ve done it more often.

I hope you get to do it more often, too.

Take care, neighbor. Take good care.

Phil Frasier

P.S. – Happy hunting!

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