Gazing through the smoke across the campfire he thought about how the hunter he was sharing coffee and fire with, had earned his nickname. He had named himself by accident, and it had stuck, for years. He was a older more experienced hunter, as well as a accomplished dog handler. You might imagine that if he had picked his name himself it would be something like, “BUCK SLAYER” or maybe even “BUCKMASTER”.
Grinning over the rim of his coffee cup at his friend, he laughed outloud as he remembered how the handle had been earned.
The radios are a important part of hunting. They provide a safety margin for the truck that gets stuck in the mud, the hunter needing directions or even the occasional injury. A hunters nearest source of help for those chores that require man power is the two way radio. Many have switched from the C B radio to the FRS radio. The FRS radio is much smaller and can be used with a ear phone that will not disturb the wildlife.
A deer camp radio handle can be a powerful thing. It is used on the two way radio and around the campfire in casual and flippant ways, or even in reverence, when describing some woodscraft deed.
Nearly everyone picks a radio handle that they think is appropriate or one they think is descriptive of themselves. That “picked” name may never “stick”, or even take hold at all.
However, when someone “earns” a handle, it can be for years.
The friend across the campfire said “what” as he heard the laugh. “Oh, I was just thinking about how funny of a thing radio handles are”, he replied.
Then they both enjoyed a good laugh as they reminisced about how “whatever” had earned his handle. After a new radio was purchased, he had called to the campfire for a “radio check”, to see how it sounded as he drove towards the pre dawn campfire meeting. He was running a bit late that morning and there were many of his friends already there. Each noted how the new radio sounded and some commented about it.
As he arrived at the campfire most had commented that he had a new radio, but for some reason had never chosen a handle. That would be cleared up very soon.
As he walked up to the campfire, someone said, ” you got a new radio, did you get a new handle also ?” His response was ” no, I guess not”. The answer to that was, ” skunk” maybe ? Not particularly fond of that handle, he popped off, ” whatever” !
Yeh, you know it, it stuck. He has been “whatever” from then on.
It got quiet around the campfire for a bit, then whatever said, “what are we gona’ call “button” now ?”
Suddenly it was clear to the two old friends that a name change was in order.
“Button” hunted with his family and friends for years and had earned his name when he had taken a button buck thinking that it was a doe that he needed to fill a doe tag. He had to use his last buck tag that year to check the button buck. At the time button was a teen with a broad smile and a big hat. Everyone at the deer camp liked him and were always picking at him to get him to smile. Button always came to the campfire with a story and a smile that all enjoyed.
The evening before, button and his dad “Smokey”, ( now that’s another story ), had moved their tree stands to adjust to a travel route that a good buck was using. Hunters in the distance had heard the shot and asked on the radio, “that you smokey”? The answer came back, “no, it sounded like it may have been button”. Then smokey said , “you get him button ?” The answer came back, “Yeh”. It could be heard in his voice, he was in awe of the really good buck that he had taken. A good nine point buck had been harvested by button, and the radio had came alive with descriptions of the harvest and praise for button. The dragging and loading into the pickup was completed and handshakes passed around when it first came up.
“Well, Button, what are we going to call you now ?
Pouring a second cup of coffee the friends chatted with other hunters as they arrived at the fire. The renaming of button was the main topic of discussion as false dawn was beginning to arrive.
The metamorphisis of button had began. Many handles were tried out across the campfire that morning, yet, somehow none seemed to fit just right.
Soon it became apparent to all present that they had been overlooking the obvious handle, one that button had earned long ago. It was his cheery attitude, his enthusiasim for the outdoors and his broad smile that won out.
Button had became SMILEY !