Kristen Berube
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Kristen Berube

Kristen Berube lives a crazy, laugh-filled life with her outdoorsman husband Remi and their three camo-clad children in Missoula, Montana. A graduate of Montana State University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, she loves being a mom and enjoys hiking, fishing, and camping. “Confessions of a Camo Queen: Living with an Outdoorsman” is her first book.

Finally, the best time of the year! The time of year that hunters have been anxiously awaiting has arrived… it is now hunting season! The wait is over and all of those hours spent drooling over animals (also known as “scouting”), all of the practice belly-crawling across the field while simultaneously whispering and animal calling, all of the hours intensely inspecting hunting magazines and camo patterns, all of the shopping carts full of “gear”, and all of the archery and rifle practice is about to pay out BIG. This payment comes camouflaged in the form of adrenaline, chest bumps, antlers, horns, furs, and, of course, juicy steaks. So, why the long face, I ask?

Of course the first weekend of hunting season is filled with hopes and dreams of harvesting that big score. The hopes of finding a giant rack….no, not that kind… Let me reword- the hopes of obtaining a giant set of antlers, hundreds of pounds of steak, and enough bragging rights to last until you make other hunters cry from envy or you die is now upon us. Either way, the outdoorsman is happy. The first weekend is like a fever. The outdoorsman is like a rabid hyena pacing the floors, waiting for the gong to sound midnight so he can jump into his truck, rev the engine, squeal the tires, slam some coffee, and set out on the best hunting season EVER!! You know, every season is the best hunting season EVER! If, God forbid, the outdoorsman is unsuccessful the first weekend, I generally hear things like, “They just aren’t talking yet” or “WOLVES!” This being said, there is still a fevered-frenzy apparent in the outdoorsman’s eyes. An unsuccessful first weekend definitely means SICK DAYS for the following week. Damn work is always in the way! It is okay, though, because next week will be the week of glorious success!

Week 2…No Success

Week 3…No Success

Now we’re into the fourth week of bow season. The outdoorsman has literally bugled his lips off, hiked more miles than Lewis and Clark, sweated enough salt to season 5,000 chicken wings, and lost ten pounds. His eyes now look troubled. The outdoorsman rarely smiles and fakes a smile when he sees fellow hunter’s successful hunt photos. Of course, he is happy that his buddies have been successful, but, damn, he wants to be flashin’ pics around like a gangsta’, too! He is losing sleep, staring at the ceiling, and strategizing his new plan of attack.

It’s now Week 5 and I am getting concerned. I came home today and strangely the outdoorsman’s truck was in the driveway. Why isn’t he at work? Upon further inspection, I see that he is actually in his truck, staring out in the woods. I sneak up to his truck and open the door to surprise him, but I am the surprised one. There he is, dressed in his favorite KUIU camo, listening to, “Livin’ On A Prayer”. Wow… Just wow. I am concerned. Maybe we should look into some sort of antidepressant. The outdoorsman looks at me, then with downcast eyes, shuffles into the garage mumbling something about needing more time. Seriously!? This is just pathetic. Does it not matter that every single stinking year for the last twenty years that he has been successful? No. He just knows that this is will be the year that his “sneaky” charms are not going to work. Sigh. I feel bad for the sap, so I say that it is alright if he wants to take some work days off. I feel as though I have been tricked and manipulated, but I am rewarded with a coy smile. He must be thinking that his plan worked…

Week 6… By now the outdoorsman has eaten so many Mountain House meals it’s possible that if he drinks hot water he’ll turn into fully-hydrated lasagna. He has slept with more rocks in his back than you can shake a stick at and missed 10 days of work. We are broke from all of the unpaid SICK days and the over-limit credit card loaded with gas charges. The kids are afraid of this strange man muttering about needing MORE time, wolves, and black shadows under is now gaunt face. I tell him to go away and not come back until he gets something before we all need therapy. The outdoorsman is brought to life once again. His feverish fury is now ignited again as he loads his hunting pack full of granola bars and hauls butt out the door.

Week 7…My cell phone beeps with an incoming message. I look and see a picture of the outdoorsman grinning ear to ear with his trophy. Thank you sweet baby Jesus!! Thank you hunting gods!!! Thank you!!! Upon the outdoorsman’s arrival, we have to take more pictures to provide bragging paraphernalia and then the outdoorsman goes to bed and sleeps for three days. He wakes up, finally shaves, and is the man I married once again. Now he must go out with everyone else to help them get their trophies…Of course!

The moral of the story is not to worry. The outdoorsman will eventually get something and every year he will doubt himself. I must remember to TRY and be patient and tell him to quit doubting himself. After all, he is a mighty hunter, right? The only cure for the hunting-season-blues is to get dressed in the new camo of pattern of the year and go harvest something for God’s sakes!!!

Good luck to hunters and hunter’s wives!