"Hunting and Fishing Partners - and Married"

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Published on: Jul. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 22, 2010

“I plan to be sitting in a tree somewhere this weekend,” high-school senior Tyler McNeely told me. “My parents will be, too.”

“Your parents bow-hunt together?” I asked. I knew Tyler because I’m a biology teacher at Jackson Senior High. I’d never met his parents, however.

“Have for almost 20 years,” Tyler said. “My mom has tagged 14 deer, including several nice bucks. One was big enough for the record book. My dad’s taken more than 20. We take our bow-hunting seriously.”

I have to admit that I don’t know of any other husbands and wives who bow-hunt together. Matter of fact, I don’t know of many husbands and wives who hunt together at all.

Curious about their approach to being a husband/wife hunting team, I phoned Tyler’s parents, Doug and Carmen, and they invited me over.

The next evening I pulled up in front of their home—a spacious log cabin that lies on a 90-acre farm east of Jackson. Their youngest daughter, 15-year-old Whitney, met me at the door and ushered me inside. A mantle filled with archery competition trophies caught my eye, as did a basket below the mantle filled with shed antlers.

Carmen and Doug were eager to talk about the outdoors. He said it represents a main focus in their marriage.

Doug first met Carmen at church when he was nearly 20 years old and she was a 16-year-old student. Her dad only let Doug come over to visit during the day. Carmen’s family lived in the country and had a nice pond on their place. Carmen and Doug spent a lot of time fishing together.

“Our family row-cropped and raised cattle for a living,” Doug said, “so I didn’t have much time for fishing until I met Carmen. She taught me how to fish.”

For well over a year, Doug and Carmen enjoyed daytime dates of catching bass and crappie and frying up their catch for meals. When Carmen graduated from high school, her dad relaxed restrictions on dating. Carmen and Doug knew they were a good match and within a year they married. A couple years into their marriage, Doug decided to try bow-hunting for whitetails.

“It didn’t take long for bow-hunting to get deep in my blood,” Doug said. “I wanted Carmen to bow-hunt with me. She wasn’t sure about it. We had two young sons then, and Carmen did not know if she would have time. I tried to convince her everyone needs

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