Tradition Lives On | Upland Hunting in Autumn

Occasionally something will land in the ACL inbox that warrants some attention on the wider internets, this short video by reader Adam Lytle is certainly one of those things. This year when heading up to his family’s annual hunting trip in Michigan Adam packed his 7D (I’m assuming – and you know what they say about assumptions) to capture what has become a cherished male bonding tradition with his family. It’s not necessarily about how much game that is “harvested,” it’s more about the stories and the time together in the outdoors. It’s something I see in my many sets of old Kodachrome slides, America’s love of hunting and fishing. Watch the video and read more about Adam’s family tradition below.

Every October for the past thirty years, my father and his brothers have come together in northern Michigan to spend a week hunting roughed grouse and woodcock amidst the color change of the leaves. The trip was originally organized by my grandfather, Robert J. Lytle as a way to spend time with his four sons, all who grew up tagging along on his many trips into the woods. On his passing, in the early nineties, his ashes were spread over his favorite hunting grounds. Every year we return in his memory.

I was lucky enough to be invited when I was twelve years old and have been attending ever since. I’ve spent many a cool autumn night staring wide-eyed as my elders recounted stories from the past. From shooting trap with General George S. Patton, to surviving attacks in Vietnam, from running away from home, to crashing Floatplane’s in Long Lake, and of course, stories of the biggest grouse they’ve ever chased. These stories taught me what it means to be a man.

Working in New York City, it gets a little awkward telling your boss that you have to miss work to go hunt animals, but its well worth it. These guys aren’t your Cabela’s rednecks. They are working men who, come October, achieve glory, as brothers, living off this beautiful land.

Well said sir. I’m interested to hear about other interesting family traditions – drop me a note via the contact box above and I may share them here.

Comments on “Tradition Lives On | Upland Hunting in Autumn

    JTS on November 11, 2011 1:05 PM:

    Great video, Adam. Looks like some solid woodcock and grouse cover! Nice Llewellin too! Even if you never kill a bird, watching the dogs work and walking through the woods beats sitting in an office any day…

    oh_hella on November 11, 2011 1:24 PM:

    Great video, and great post – both well put together. Anyone know what song is used in the video? Gracias.

    Tim on November 11, 2011 2:28 PM:

    Great video, makes me want to pack up and head north right now. In person or only in memories, time in the woods is a great way to connect with friends and family.

    Kinda bummed that Adam finds it awkward to tell his boss he’s going hunting. Hunting, especially ruffed grouse and woodcock over pointing dogs, is a noble past time – one that seems to have fewer practitioners every year. I wish more working men and women took a few days away from the office to clear their heads in the great outdoors and experienced the thrill of the harvest.

    wildleaves on November 11, 2011 4:21 PM:

    The song is “Mound of Clay” by Charlie Feathers.

    TMH on November 11, 2011 7:25 PM:

    Just sent this to my Brother who’s off hunting
    with our Dad in Northern VA. Thanks for this

    Caine on November 11, 2011 7:32 PM:

    Thank you for distinguishing yourself from “Cabela’s rednecks”. I might have confused you for an elitist New York City twat.

    Michael Williams on November 11, 2011 7:35 PM:
    Kevin on November 11, 2011 9:15 PM:

    Northern Michigan, was this by any chance up around the Grayling area?

    Joakim on November 12, 2011 2:55 PM:

    Whoomp! There it is!

    mike on November 12, 2011 9:44 PM:

    reminds me of hunting with my dad and his friends in surry va.

    Tad on November 13, 2011 8:23 PM:

    Great video. Michigan may have a stack of troubles right now, but it’s still my favorite get-away state. It’s argued that Michigan has the longest coastline of any state in the Union, and it’s got some great woods, ponds, and sand dunes, too. Pack your retrievers and your boots in your car and cannonball in from whatever your location (although it’s quite easy from Chicago).

    Jonathan on November 13, 2011 8:46 PM:

    When I returned home after 10 years in Seattle, my father finally talked me into hunting white tail again. This is our 11th year together in the woods that were my backyard as a teenager. The men and women we hunt with are a mixed bag of old State Trooper buddies, life-long locals, and few strays we picked up over the years from Philly.

    I appreciate it more now then when I was a kid. The stories are better when the crowd is older.

    Noah on November 13, 2011 11:38 PM:

    Cabela’s isn’t nearly as bad as Bass Pro. I don’t think most New Yorkers really know what a redneck is.

    Noah on November 13, 2011 11:44 PM:

    Very nice video by the way.

    Rhon on November 14, 2011 8:12 PM:

    Great hunting tradition, beautiful dog and damn good video to kick!

    STEPHEN JOHN BILLICK on November 15, 2011 1:34 PM:

    I’m from Michigan, & an upland hunter, & while I love the spirit of this post I think this video completely misses the spirit of its subject. There is a lot of urban stylizing of the outdoorsman going around right now, for better or for worse. I visit the city from my place in N.W. Connecticut & see a thousand Barbour jackets & L.L. Bean boots & suede shoulder patches on Polo shooting vests. & thus Adam ends up editing & scoring his family hunt to feel like a Levis commercial.

    It may play for some, but the point (in my honest slash humble opinion) is profoundly missed.

    andrew t. on November 15, 2011 6:57 PM:

    Playing as a Levis’s commercial isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they’ve been damn good commercials over the past two years. I think Adam has put together a really nice piece here, something that would make for a great spec should he be an aspiring commercial director.

    Andrew David Watson on November 16, 2011 2:28 PM:

    Love it!

    Brad on November 18, 2011 1:01 AM:

    Speaking of Michigan, I shot a few photos when we rented a house near Sleeping Bear Dunes back in August. Had a blast, and I agree it’s a great place for a vacation.

    Jeff on November 18, 2011 12:30 PM:

    Just a few months ago the same woods that are so invigorating and beautiful in autumn were sweaty and mosquito-infested. And how quickly they will be cold, gray, and silent this winter. That’s why everyone in the the east and midwest moved to California.

    TN on November 22, 2011 7:57 AM:

    First, the disclosures, I live in the Detroit area, and I’m an avid bird-hunter. I enjoyed the video, but I’d enjoy any video about this rich subject.

    There’s nothing wrong with stylizing bird hunting . . . frankly with our plummeting participant numbers, we could use all the PR we can get (assuming those people contribute to RGS, etc.). I have a real issue with so-called hard-core hunters that employ reverse snobbery to chase away neophytes and degrade urban hunters (the hardest core hunter I know lives in Manhattan with his three English Setters). There’s no greater achievement by a sportsman than to introduce another to the sport.

    I actually dress relatively nicely when I chase birds. I owe this wonderful pastime at least that much respect.

    JSQ on November 22, 2011 11:44 AM:

    “I actually dress relatively nicely when I chase birds. I owe this wonderful pastime at least that much respect.”

    Well said.

    Mod Betty / on November 30, 2011 10:50 PM:

    I was directed to your site from a link in an article, and immediately had a profound sense of home when I saw the “hunting orange” and khaki combo.
    My dad was an avid upland bird hunter – from the 50’s, when he and great uncle Jim would head down the Cape with their weimaraners through my entire life, taking off many an autumn weekend to head out with our “Uncle Quack” for duck, pheasant, quail, partridge, and his fave – ruffed grouse.
    My mother always referred to him as a “gentleman hunter” – meaning it wasn’t necessarily what he came home with – though we did get used to dead birds stacked up right next to the milk container in the fridge – but the entire experience of connecting with the hunting grounds year after year, that all too quickly became suburban developments.
    Dad passed away last fall, tragically unable to hunt during his short few retirement years because of one illness after another, and I guess my ramble is a thank you for reminding me of him, and letting me know that folks are carrying on the tradition he cared for so deeply.

Comments are closed.