The hunting chronicles...with Bobby Dale Welch

July 30, 2020 chris
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On July 27, 1997, I stood in the front of many friends and family members at East Gadsden Nazarene Church and waited for the doors in the back to open. I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of tree stands and deer blinds, so I’ve had a ton of experience waiting for something to appear.
Nothing had prepared me for this moment, however. Hunters often spend a good bit of time alone in the woods but not much time in front of crowds. There was no wind, no branches or grass moving to give any hint of any arrival at the church. There were no squirrels or birds going about their day. Just a great many people staring at me.
Then it happened – the music changed, the doors began to open, and there she was!
Telling this story helps me remember it in great detail. Her dad walked her down the aisle and we met and exchanged vows. It was a most glorious day.
We spent our vacation in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. There was an apple tree within sight of our room, and every afternoon, a doe deer would accompany her fawns to that tree for an afternoon snack. We would sit and watch the deer eat apples. We drove around one evening and saw several other deer, even spotting some really nice bucks close to where we were staying.
If you’ve read other articles I’ve written – or you know us – you know that I did not marry an outdoorswoman. But that hasn’t kept my wife from showing interest in my hunting. She’s gone hunting with me several times and ALWAYS provides a story.
During our very first hun-ting experience, she got all dressed in camouflage. It was a comfortable afternoon, and I had chosen a nice two-person ladder stand for us to sit in. Of course, there was the “you want me to climb that ladder to that little seat?” conversation followed by the “yes dear, and I’ll be right here to help make sure you don’t get hurt” response. We eventually got ourselves seated in the stand. We had been sitting there for a few minutes when she leaned over and whispered, “Okay, where are the deer?” I explained to her the dangers of a deer showing itself and how we needed to be quiet, still and ready in case something happened.
Time began to pass, and she began to ask why I enjoyed just sitting there staring at a field with no deer, and how it would be much more fun if the deer would come out for us to watch. After we had been in the stand for a couple of hours, a deer came running from our left and made a very brief appearance in the field before turning and running off. Seconds behind that deer came two stray dogs sniffing and barking. The deer had been in the field for only a second or two, and it had its tail raised high. I asked my wife if she had seen the deer, and she told me that it looked more like a turkey.
A turkey?
She began to explain how deer had cute noses and ears and how on cartoons and television they mostly walk around and nibble on grass and such. How could I do anything except smile and enjoy her explanation?
This past Sunday, we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. I miss her when I’m out hunting. I look forward to the nightly phone calls when she asks me if I’d seen “Mr. Big Buck.” In October of 2016, I came home to find out that she had breast cancer. We cried. We prayed. We cried. We cried. We prayed. We looked each other in the eye and promised we would be okay.
I was up in a tree stand in Illinois the first time she posted something on Facebook to let everyone know what was going on. There wasn’t a better place for me to be – alone and in a tree with my bow. I cried. I talked to myself. I prayed. I cried.
But the doctors were fantastic, and each one of her doctor appointments were encouraging. Praise the Lord, she has received a good report now for two years.
She even flew out to Wyoming this past hunting season and spent the weekend with me where I was working as a guide. I love living life with her, and I look forward to many more anniversaries.
Bobby Dale Welch was born and raised in East Gadsden and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1988. He is the founder of and partner in BD Welch Construction and currently lives in Ashville with his wife Tracie and sons Daniel and Dawson. He may be contacted at bobbyd@bdwelch.com.