THE MAN BY FRIENDS OF DWIGHT SCHUH.
It was 4 a.m., and I was crossing the Minam River Bridge when I met a tall, string bean of a man. We spoke briefly about elk sightings and where we were hunting, trying to pick each other's brains in an effort to enhance our hunt. We parted ways, but I didn't know his name until later, when that man called me to set up an interview.
Dwight was attending the University of Oregon, working to get his B.A. in journalism, and he wanted to write an article about a successful bowhunter named Billy Cruse, and myself, and our exploits bowhunting elk in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains. After the interview we talked bowhunting, only then realizing we'd met in September.
Dwight was thoughtful and serious about his love for Christ, family, bowhunting, and fishing, as well as being physically tough. We shared countless hunting adventures, good times and hard times, and shared our vision of ethical elk hunting through our "Elk Fever" and "Elk Fever II" videos, and his book, "Bugling for Elk."
Having spent many weeks in the bush with Dwight, I can tell you he could get discouraged and grumpy. I mean hard to get along with grumpy, but he was a determined hunter and would never give up.
On the surface, Dwight seemed mostly serious, but at times he could be downright hilarious. I remember the scene in "Elk Fever" when he stumbled toward me, his hat turned sideways, and asking in a goofy voice, "Did you see anything? Did you hear anything?" I almost busted my gut laughing!
Dwight was always helpful. When I sent him articles years ago, he always took great delight in correcting them with a red pencil. He was also a good teacher. I learned how to stalk mule deer, research hunting areas, read topographic maps, and more from Dwight. As Bowhunter Magazine Editor, he worked tirelessly to make sure articles were grammatically correct, and often completely rewrote a poorly written article because he liked the story.
I had the privilege of filming many of Dwight's hunts. We traveled to Africa, Alaska, Canada, Argentina, and across the U.S. together. He didn't like the inconvenience of filming, but he worked hard to do the best he could. In one memorable scene, Dwight was demonstrating how to use a safety harness when somehow the stand platform slid out from underneath him and he he dropped right out of sight! Fortunately, the safety harness did its job, leaving Dwight dangling but safe just below me.
I was also manning the camera when a huge Yukon bull moose walked up to Dwight and stopped at 12 yards. Dwight sent an arrow into the bull and the beast snorted, lowered his antlers, and charged. We both almost met our Maker that day!
When you and your best friend are soaking in the view from a wilderness ridgetop, you don't think about the size of your partner's footprint on your life and the lives of others. Dwight Schuh's footprint was huge, and I will miss him dearly until our trails cross again, this time on that bridge to Heaven.
Larry D. Jones, Contributor
TODAY, very few men are worthy of being called heroes. Dwight Schuh was one of these men. Dwight was, and forever will be, my hero.
Who am I to write about the greatest writer I've ever known? Nobody! Dwight's writings have graced these pages. My writings have merely occupied them. So, I will be demure. I'm not going to attempt to write about Dwight and risk comparison.
The good news is, not surprisingly, the best writer I have ever known also gave the best speech I have ever heard. It literally changed my life. Rather than lamely try to express to you who Dwight was and what he meant to me, I'll let Dwight speak to you for a moment. Listen carefully to this excerpt from his speech at the Pope and Young Club Banquet, circa 1996.1 was the beneficiary of this wisdom for 30 years. And, for that, I will be forever grateful.
"At a gathering like this, we're all very righteous. But what we say in the midst of a crowd doesn't mean beans. It's easy to fool other people. But it's not so easy to fool ourselves, and the real gauge of our ethical fiber is not measured in a room full of people. It's measured on a lonely mountaintop, when we're all alone. It's measured when we debate whether to take a shot beyond our effective range, or a risky shot through brush, or maybe cross a fence where we don't have permission, or to hunt a little too late... That's where we really measure integrity. And that's where we receive our reward. If we make the right choices there, when no one is looking, it doesn't matter whether we kill any animals. We have our reward. It's on our heart. Honesty is the only way.
Recently, a group in Michigan asked me to speak, and in preparation they sent some topics they thought would be interesting. Among those was this suggestion: Tell us about your best and worst hunts. At first glance I thought, 'That's easy enough.'
But the more I thought about it, the more foreign the topic became. My worst hunt? I just couldn't relate. In searching back over 30 years of hunting trips, I could not identify a worst hunt. Every hunt I'd ever been on has had valuable, lasting, and memorable qualities ... That's not to say I've never enjoyed a little misery, fatigue, fear, frustration, disappointment, and anger.
But are these 'negative' emotions bad? Not at all. In day to day life, we're insulated from any discomfort, from exertion, from the highs and lows of emotion. We're always comfortable. Tough hunts release the full range of emotions. They bring us to life. That's not bad. That's good.
Even more importantly, they enhance the good emotions. They make our joy more joyful, our excitement more exciting and our peace more tranquil.
Without the contrast of tough times, the good times just aren't as powerful.
I know what a privilege it is just to be in the field with a bow in my hand, breathing fresh air. Quite frankly, that's good enough. If I've learned nothing else in 30 years of bowhunting, I know for absolute certainty that there never has been, nor will there ever be, a bad hunt.
Which brings up one last question: Am I investing in others? Are you? You see, relationships are reciprocal. They work both ways. People invest in our lives. But do we invest in theirs?
Am I investing in other people? My actions and yours could forever affect the lives of others. Think of the value. Think of the value! Indeed, relationships are far more important than any dead animals. 'Will someone else, someday, have success because of me?'"
Dwight, the answer to your question is--Yes, I will.
Randy Ulmer, Contributor
Editor's Note: To further our tribute to our colleague and friend Dwight Schuh, I asked some of our staff writers to contribute their thoughts about the man they all admired.
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|Author:||Jones, Larry D.; Ulmer, Randy|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2019|
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