Jesse Courtwright is a hunter and has been for a long time – approximately 25 years. The Greene County native lives in Holbrook and definitely learned a lot from those who came before him.
Before he was old enough to hunt, he would go to game lands with his father and watch as him hunt. These teachings have been passed from Courtwright father to son over at least two generations.
Nowadays, he said he hunts “a little bit of everything,” from deer to smaller game, such squirrels and pheasants. Spring is time for turkeys, and he does some trapping in the winter.
For the past two years, Courtwright’s oldest daughter, Ella, 10, has participated in the family’s Thanksgiving hunting tradition, as well.
Every year, friends and family get together – uncles from out of town, siblings and cousins home from college – to hunt prior to the family’s holiday dinner. Weather permitting, the group can be as large as 15 or 20 people.
Ella is proud to be part of the crew.
“She likes getting to go because she feels like she’s part of the big group,” Courtwright said. “We try to get together before we hunt and we get some donuts and have some coffee and we’re all standing around talking to each other about how we’ve been doing, just kind of our year, what we’re going to be doing for the holidays.”
Although Ella still hasn’t had the chance to get anything, Courtwright said he likes having a chance to spend quality time with his daughter.
“We didn’t get anything while we were hunting [last year],” he said. “But we got to talk a good bit and it was really cold, so she kind of looked like the kid from the Christmas story all bundled up and wobbling around.”
While Ella goes off hunting with the adults, Courtwright’s younger daughters, Kaitlyn, 7, and Hailey, 5, wait patiently for them to come back with animals and tales.
“They’re excited when we come back in to see what we’ve got, if we got anything, any funny stories to tell them,” he explained. “I think probably all three of them would like to go but with the younger ones it just gets a little bit tough to keep track of three little girls going through the woods.”
Being able to share the experience with his kids makes this holiday tradition even better.
“I remember when I was younger I couldn’t wait to go,” he said. “Even before I was old enough to go, I would walk with my dad on Thanksgiving and [now] my daughter is kind of doing the same thing. So that’s pretty special to me, to be able to see that happen.”