On this year’s opening day of dove season, Monday, Sept. 2, Bumpass resident Bobby Woolfolk and his brethrens of the hunting fraternity met at their customary location, the fields of Roy Hopkins in the heart of Louisa. Each year, the group gets together for a smorgasbord of camaraderie, competition and challenge.
In the past few years, set in fields of plowed corn and rolling hills, Woolfolk and his friends have discovered that hunting is much more than a sport. It’s a release. It’s therapy. It’s an escape.
Like a therapists’ office has a sofa, Woolfolk has his hunting chair in his “spot.” The group of hunters claiming their spot at the beginning of the day resembles the picking of teams before elementary gym class. In the hunter’s fraternity, a person’s spot is like the head coach’s seat on the bus. It’s your spot until you quit or pass away, and even then no one is eager to assume the throne of sorts.
Robert’s younger brother by two years and best friend, Lanny, once had a seat in the field. The spot lay underneath a cedar tree halfway up one of the field’s many hills. Nestled to the left by the cornfield, and to the right by a sea of rolling green fields, the location gave him the best of both worlds that the field had to offer.
But for the past two years, Lanny’s spot has remained empty.
Woolfolk has been hunting at Hopkins’ farm for more than 40 years. Between quiet hills littered with sluggish cattle sit fields of shucked corn, inviting doves from all across the area in for a meal.
Lanny and Bobby began their hunting expeditions together in 1972, when Lanny finally hit his teenage years. The duo found a nice hunting marsh at Goldmine Creek at Lake Anna. It was there, nestled in a cove that seemed to shelter you from not only the wind but the cares of the world, where Woolfolk first learned the peace that hunting could provide.
“It was so fresh, so new and exciting for both of us,” Woolfolk said. “Our first impressions of that place were indescribable. We went one evening and it was dark and we could hear the ducks coming in. All we could hear were the wings whistling.”
Throughout the years, Bobby and Lanny changed. They got married and had children. They started careers and became contributing members of the community.
Life may have changed, but one thing remained constant: hunting. It was their favorite pastime, the way they connected. Perhaps the changes in life made the hunts that much more special.
“We were about as close as two brothers can be,” Woolfolk said. “We knew each other completely and liked each other completely. We were close because we did stuff together, and I think he looked up to me because he appreciated spending time together.”
To read the entire story, see the Sept. 19 edition of The Central Virginian.