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JANUARY 2015 Hunter’s Almanac

See You on the Other Side A hunter remembers Dave Lewis, a hunter and soft-hearted tough guy

By Doug Humphreys

With but two exceptions, I pretty much hate being called Dougie. The fi rst exception was Coach Welche, my travel soccer coach for much of my youth. When he said “Dougie!” it came out like the bark of a junkyard dog. When he said it, it sounded tough, which made me feel tough, which is always good for a young man. I don’t know whatever happened to coach Welche, though I know I miss him.

The second exception was

Dave Lewis. I’m pretty sure that every single time I ever saw Dave he greeted me with, “Hey Dougie!” Though one of the toughest men I’ve ever met, when he said it, it didn’t sound tough or boost my ego. It just made me feel, well, like he liked me. I’ll sure miss Dave too. The last time I saw Dave, after the “Hey Dougie” hello that made me grin, we talked about archery hunting. I was complaining about a recent bow hunt, though try as I might I can’t remember about what exactly.

What I do remember is that

when I was done Dave looked at me and said, “Dougie, there’s 99 things that can happen when you bow hunt—and only one of ‘em is good.” Dave would know. He was a

great hunter. He hunted with bows and smoke poles and rifl es. More than one trophy whitetail hangs in his home, and not long ago I did a skull mount for him for a bruiser of a bruin he killed in Canada. No doubt about it, Dave was a great hunter . . . but that’s not why everybody liked him.

It’s quite likely that anyone who knew Dave would give you a different reason for why they

liked him—there was

just that much to like about Dave. Though at the core of it would be the basics of honesty, humor, integrity and respect. I most liked Dave for his

humor. He once told me a story about getting

a call

from a homeowner who had a complaint about the home Dave had just fi nished building for him. When Dave arrived the homeowner complained that he couldn’t get his TV remote to work. If you knew Dave, at all, then you can imagine the commentary around this story. If you didn’t know Dave, I can tell you that I didn’t breathe for three minutes and was lucky to live through the tale.

I also deeply appreciated Dave for the way he treated my kids. It amazed me how a man with such a tough exterior could be so gentle with children. He didn’t treat kids like babies or speak with a condescending tone . . . he just treated them like little people. I once watched Dave play a game of pool with my son. Except that the conversation included topics like Spongebob and third grade math, it just looked like two buddies playing a game


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of pool. In a world that needs better men, Dave was one of the good ones. I’m thankful my kids had the chance to meet him.

Don’t get me wrong, I went through great pains not to piss him off. I heard more than a few tales of a legendary temper. And given that his little fi nger was as big as my pointer fi nger and his fi st was roughly the size of my head, I had no desire to walk on that wild side. Of course I also heard enough to know that anybody who saw that side of Dave worked pretty hard to earn it. Yeah, I’ll really miss Dave. I know there are many of us in Jefferson County who will. If you’re not a hunter you

may not know that a hunter rarely ever says goodbye. Our parting comments usually start with “see you” and end with a destination. See you at the top of the ridge. See you back at camp. See you where the horse trail splits in Salt Creek. See you where Dave killed the 8-point near Goat Knob. I guess hunters don’t see much point in saying goodbye to someone they fully intend to see again. So for now I’ll choose not to say goodbye to Dave. I’ll just say, see you on the other side.


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