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ABC Members Share Their Love of the Hunt

There’s nothing quite like seeing the dawn break over the woods on a cold, snowy crisp Michigan morning. The glorious majesty of the sun as it streams through the woods—casting shadows and waking up the birds and squirrels who live there. Add to that it is the opening day of our state’s firearm deer season and you have the makings of a great memory.

“There is a special satisfaction in knowing that most of the rest of the world around us isn’t seeing these sights or hearing those sounds,” said avid hunter and ABC SEMI Board Chairman Robert Clancy. “It’s a successful hunt, whether we squeeze the trigger, release the arrow or go home with just a memory. Some of my fondest hunting experiences have often left me empty handed, but with a head full of great stories and memories.”

Clancy, owner of Robert Clancy Contracting, Inc., believes it’s something that in the experience of hunting, it might be dreadful, but after the fact you look back on it, and agree that it was a good time. You wouldn’t trade anything in the world for that moment. He recalls passing early on a nice buck in Alberta Canada only to sit the next six days in a chilly hunting blind in the woods and see nothing.

“You can laugh about it now,” Clancy admits. “But it is a great ‘one that got away’ story and a lesson to many who hunt about the sport. It’s called hunting not ‘shooting’ for a reason. It happens to the best hunter—for me passing on a shot is more about not wanting the experience to end so soon rather than looking for that ‘trophy’ animal. I imagine it is that way for a lot of us who take to the woods.”

Every hunter knows that they are a breed unto themselves. Your average person just can’t understand in this day and age why someone would hunt instead of just going to the grocery store to buy your food. Often misunderstood or just simply unable to see the point of it all, hunters only are understood really by one person—another hunter. ABC SEMI Director of Membership and Safety, John Manor, knows this all too well.

“My wife thinks I’m crazy for spending hours in a tree when it’s frigidly cold out,” Manor said. “My buddies think I’m nuts while they are at the beach and I am in the woods dealing with mosquitoes and ticks during the summer while tending food plots. Not to mention how my co-workers can’t wrap their mind around how it’s fun to spend a weekend in 100-degree heat putting up box blinds and installing trail cameras. Yet, the guys I hunt with know exactly what I mean when I come back to camp empty handed and say it was a great hunt—it is all about the experience and moments shared.”

According to Perry Merlo, ABC SEMI Board member, if you’re not a deer hunter, you might not even understand this notion of “fun.” He would venture to guess most people wanting to enjoy themselves and not have to work to have fun would find deer hunting too tiresome. But for a small percentage of us (hunters), we cherish this fun as much as some do a day at the baseball game.

“Hunting deer can take a boat load of work,” said Merlo. “I think sometimes that work might not be the most fun in the moment, but through blood, sweat, and accomplishment, those hard times can be special when you look back upon those moments. I know that the times I spend in the outdoors, especially with family and friends hunting are the most exhausting but absolutely rewarding times of my life. Not one of them would I trade for anything.”

Tom Campbell, ABC SEMI Board Member and owner of Campbell Industrial Contractors, has had a love affair with hunting spanning over four decades and across the globe. Campbell a member of Safari International has hunted near and far but always with the singular reason in mind—to share the experience. On most if not all of his trips he brings his wife and family along to create those memories.

“I have seen some incredible sites in my adventures hunting,” said Campbell. “But it wouldn’t mean nearly as much to me if I did not have someone there to share it with. My wife and family enjoy our trips to Africa and we really get to experience life and the culture there—not just the hunt. True hunters respect the animals they hunt and give thanks for the ability and right to hunt them. I know each mount I have or animal I harvested is a special moment for me and a reminder of the great experiences I have had with family I will never forget.”