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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

"Happy Hunting Dears"

Did I mention I was married to a mountain goat? Rigby loves wandering in the hills and “The deer hunt” is his favorite. When we were married nearly 25 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into- hunting being just a small part of it.

Although Rigby has always loved the outdoors, he was not the avid outdoors man that he is today. Following his stroke in 2009, the outdoors became his therapy and hunting “his ticket” to get away. Today, he turns the focus from his own hunts to helping our “fab five” garner a “big one.”

In the early years of our marriage, hunting remained mostly a male outing. But slowly as the years have gone by, I have joined the expeditions and I have loved them. With Rigby as my guide, I have landed myself a nice Mormon Mountain buck, a Wyoming antelope, and a Summit Mountain Cougar. I am still holding out for the coveted Beaver Mountain goat tag.

Over the years, Rigby has hunted in Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado and Utah, but his favorite place is “Deer Mountain.” To him it is home. For three generations, the Rigby men have gathered there. For his Grandpa Eldro, the deer hunt was the means to provide meat for his family throughout the winter. Hunting was a necessity. Eldro would look forward to the deer hunt all year long. He was ever prepared with his band aid tin full of ammo which was taped with duct tape and his old “grub box” filled to the brim with all the hunting necessities. He and Zina would scrape their pennies together to make the deer hunt possible, and Zina sent him to the hills with home baked goods including her traditional Jumbo Raisin Cookies.

When each of Eldro’s grandsons “became of age,” they were invited to join the hunting crew. Bruce, Warren, and Floyd have carried on Eldro’s tradition. The Rigby men love this sacred ground. Over the years, many have gathered at deer camp, and my Rigby has expanded the tradition to include all- it is a family event.

This weekend marks the opening of the deer hunt. Families will trek to their long held spots for their own deer camps. Campfires will be lit and stories told. The food will be amazing and the memories made irreplaceable. Hunting is part of the culture in Southern Utah.

For our clan, there is just something about waking up early “opening morning” with an adrenaline rush. Then, after donning camo and “deer hunt” orange, we have a cup of hot cocoa and leave camp just as the sun is about to peak on the horizon. We aren’t road hunters nor do we ride OHV’s. Our two feet take us on our adventures- adventures we will cherish for a lifetime. Adventures that Rigby and I one day hope to share with our grandkids- the 4th generation to come to Deer Mountain.

Zina Rigby’s Jumbo Raisin Cookies- A Deer Hunt Tradition

Combine 2 cups raisin and one cup water- boil 5 minutes and let cool

Cream together 2 cups sugar, one cup shortening

Add to creamed mixture 3 eggs one at a time

Combine the following dry ingredients to the creamed mixture

4 cups flour, 1 Tb baking powder, 1 tsp. soda, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, and ¼ tsp. allspice. Add the raisin/water mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Happy Hunting!


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