Bob is my youngest child. At every opportunity, I brought my family to Venosta, and when we were there, Bob and his sisters spent as much time in the bush as I did. But he learned the greatest part of his woodsmanship and hunting from my Dad, because he was there every weekend, every holiday, every summer vacation, every chance he had. There was always someone willing to pick him up and bring him to my Dad’s, while I had to stay in the city and work. So he grew up walking the bush with Gramps and Helen’s daughter, Michelle. Bob and Mitch helped Gramps run his trap lines, helped him build the swimming pool at the cottage, and hunted rabbit and partridge with him. It was from my Dad that Bob learned to shoot deer, and to move deer where he wanted them to go. In that respect, he is as well-trained and skilled as my brothers and I.
Bob learned to shoot a b.b. gun in Nova Scotia, when he was nine years old. I set up a shooting range for him in the basement by nesting cardboard boxes inside one another, to keep the shot from rebounding. He would set up potatoes in the boxes and pound them until there was nothing left, then start over again with more potatoes. He spent countless hours shooting, and by the time he was 13 years old, he learned to shoot a .22 and other rifles with the same precision.
As a boy, Bob didn’t like school much during hunting season. His cousin Mitch lived in Venosta, so she was with us every day, after school. That really rankled Bob, who felt that he was stuck in Ottawa. He was permitted to spend a few days out of school, each year, but it was never enough for him.
Now, Bob’s three sons are pressing to take time from school every year. They have joined us in Venosta, as babies who stayed back and waited for the hunters, then as little boys who walked the Ridge behind their Dad, Uncle Rick, and me. Now, the two older boys are also hunters. They have been with Bob, Rick and me when we have shot, and in the last two years, Max and Robert have each collected their own fine buck. You will find their pictures among the photos in our gallery. The youngest, Sam, at age 8 could pound a b.b. gun as well as his older brothers, and at age 9, could tell you whether he was tracking a buck or a doe. At age 10, he has run over 2,000 acres of bush with us, and is impatient to get his hunting license.