Outdoor Storytellers – Campfires

COEUR D’ALENE — For many people, a trip to the outdoors is not complete without a campfire, and a campfire is not complete without a few people telling stories around it.

The campfire is one of the most primal of all storytelling elements. There is something about a warm place to hang around that gets people in the mood to share their life experiences. It draws people together, in a circle, just to talk and share stories.

We recently experienced a campfire discussion as we hunted an area in the north fork of the Couer d’Alene drainage for whitetail deer. We were looking for deer throughout the day and by the end, we were ready to just sit and talk.

We discussed the hunt and how it was going, and we gave pointers to each other about the best hunting methods.

However, the discussion about the day’s hunt did not last long, and the subject changed to family life.

“We lived in farmland in Kansas, moved into town because of the floods. But, uh, I’ve always hunted. I can’t remember when I haven’t: pheasant, quail, ducks, geese. And we hunted to eat. It’s the truth. Mom and dad would give me a couple of shells and ‘don’t miss,” hunter Wilburn Owens said.

Owens is 74 years old and during his life, he has struck gold multiple times. As he sat with us talking about his life, we felt greatful to be able to hear the life experiences of this man.

“You know, I used to get my hair cut. I’d go to Toe Benson in town with a bucket of fish,” Owens said. “The barbers would fight over them to cut your hair. 35 cents for a haircut back then. Then it went up to 50.”

It may not have always been about hunting, but our experience around a campfire in north Idaho was informational and a great experience.