In the outdoors: Then and now

Man hunting.

One of my Mom’s fondest memories of me as a child was when I saw a squirrel in our yard and told her, in Hmong, that squirrel eyes looked like human eyes.

It was around this time that I first tagged along with my parents when they went squirrel hunting. My Dad did the hunting while my Mom and I looked for squirrels. I’m sure my young, easily distracted and squirrel-like eyes were useless. I don’t remember spotting many squirrels before my Dad did—in fact, he still has a keen eye for them. My parents do remember that I was exhausted but, after hearing the crack of my Dad’s .22 long rifle, I instantly sprinted off and retrieved the squirrels he shot.

As a child, I fished frequently with family members. In my youthful mind, hunting was just another fun, outdoor family activity. For my parents, however, these activities also were a means of getting food.

Fishing and hunting have evolved to become my favorite hobbies. Now I do more than just observe, spot, and retrieve squirrels: I started squirrel hunting in my late teens and deer hunting just a few years ago.

Being first-generation, my parents emphasized education. So, for most of my adult life I was in school out-of-state during the majority of the hunting season. Since I’ve finished grad school and returned to Minnesota, however, I’ve looked forward to hunting every fall and winter!

—Steven Yang