vermontlife.com spring 2017 • 47
was the best birthday present he could’ve asked for. This was officially
the most meaningful thing anyone had ever said to me.
Our next hunt was not as successful. We headed out in the early
morning, to the farm in West Pawlet, Vermont, where I shot my first
turkey just two weeks before. It was the day before my 13th birthday, and
I was eager to shoot my second turkey of the year. We sat in one of our
spots and began calling in the turkeys.
At about 10, we were halfway back to the truck to head home. It had
been a long morning and it was nearly 60 degrees outside, which feels like
80 in three layers of insulated clothing. We turned around when we heard
a gobble and saw a tom fanned out in the field right behind us, but not
close enough to shoot.
My grandfather looked at me and asked: “Do you want to see if we can
go back and shoot it?” I said, “Yes,” and he replied, “OK.” These were the
last few words he would ever speak to me. At 10:06 a.m. on May 17, 2015,
my grandfather, James F. Kasuba, collapsed and had a heart attack in front
of me while we were hunting.
I’m still crying over the loss of my grandfather, but I’m glad he died
doing something he loved very much, with someone who loved him even
more. Although he is no longer here physically, my grandfather is still held
close in my heart. He has impacted me in a way no one else has. I wouldn’t
be the hunter or the person I am today without him.
I finally understand that quote. Hunting is my life, but not just
because I enjoy doing it. Hunting is my life because it is something I did
with my grandfather, something we both loved very much. I’ll continue to
do it even though he’s gone. A
He would help me identify
the world around me, and I
fell more in love with being
in the woods every time.
ABOVE Surveying the forest in
Poultney. BELOW All smiles,
posing in a snapshot after
taking a turkey.