It all started when I was nine years old. I was finally old enough to go on my first hunting trip with the “Guys”. In a short story passed down from my Great Great Uncle Adolph Baca, it was reported that he had harvested the first Elk recorded by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Being a ninth generation Coloradan, these hunting trips are more than just filling freezers with fresh meat, they are a family tradition.
During my younger years, Mom reluctantly letting me miss a few days of school to join in on the trip was a big deal and I knew it. Was it an adventure? Sure, but more importantly , it was a right of passage. Since then I’ve only skipped a few years when I was in the Marines and other Federal Service. Hunting camp is, and always will be, sacred.
The places, faces and equipment have certainly changed over the years. I started out with a .30-.30 Sears lever action that was handed down from my grandfather and now using a .308 FNH SPR A5. I feel blessed with all of the adventures I get to share and the stories and new friends I’ve acquired along the way.
While I didn’t get my Bull Elk this year, we did fill a few freezers with two nice Muley bucks and a Cow Elk. Being a husband and father of two boys, I hope they’ll understand why Daddy is gone all week and comes back smelly and hairy, but always happy. One day my boys will get to join me and the Guys on our hunting trip. My only hope is that they one day realize the importance of the life experiences and adventures and they’ll get to continue passing them on for generations to come.
Editor’s note: Photos and text by MOTUS 50 member Matt Lopez. A big thank to Matt for sharing one of his family traditions with us. We’d love to hear from other members of the tribe. What are some of your family traditions or memorable experiences? Tell us your story!