Hunters in the Snow

by Tobias Wolff
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Hunters in the Snow Summary

"Hunters in the Snow" tells the story of three friends who go hunting in the woods outside Spokane, Washington.

  • Kenny leads the group, frequently mocking his companions Frank and Tub.

  • Tub, who is clumsy and overweight, tramples over some deer tracks. Irritated, Kenny shoots a fence post and a farmer's dog before turning his gun on Tub. Tub shoots first, only to realize that it was a practical joke.

  • Tub and Frank put Kenny in the back of the truck, but don't know the way to the hospital. They stop twice: once at a bar, and once to food.

  • Kenny's fate remains uncertain.


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Last Updated on June 9, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 697

A very heavy-set man called Tub is waiting for his friends Frank and Kenny to come and pick him up to go hunting outside of Spokane, Washington. It is winter, and the roads are icy. Frank and Kenny are almost an hour late, and when they finally do arrive, Kenny's truck skids and almost hits Tub. There's a hole in the windshield from where some kids threw a brick into the cab, and the snow and cold get in.

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Once they arrive at the hunting site, the three men walk around in the freezing cold for hours. Tub finally gives up looking for signs of deer and focuses on keeping up with Kenny and Frank, who don't seem to care if he gets lost. They don't even help Tub get through the wire fences even though they seem him struggling, and Kenny in particular makes fun of Tub for being on a diet of hard-boiled eggs and celery and still not losing weight. Tub protests, saying that he has problems with his glands.

When they eventually find some deer tracks, the tracks lead onto land that has a "no trespassing" sign. They decide to enter and ask the farmer who owns the land if they can try to find the deer. On the walk back, Tub stops to eat a couple of sandwiches and some cookies he had hidden in his pockets, and the others don't see him; in fact, they leave him so far behind that he has to run to catch up to the truck and jump in the back.

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Latest answer posted May 6, 2013, 5:09 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

When Kenny goes to ask the farmer, Tub chastises Frank for being cruel to him, reminding Frank that Tub used to stick up for him. They never do get the deer. Kenny gets really upset and says that he hates a certain post; then he shoots it. Then, they see the farmer's dog; Kenny says he hates the dog too, and he shoots it. Kenny looks at Tub and says, "'I hate you,'" and Tub shoots Kenny rather than be shot by him.

Frank and Tub lift Kenny, who is wounded but not dead, and walk with him to the farmer's house to call for help, but the nearest hospital won't send an ambulance. The farmer's wife gives some lengthy directions to the hospital via backroads, and Tub writes them down. Tub also learns that the farmer had asked Kenny to shoot his dog because the dog was sick and the farmer couldn't bring himself to do it. When Frank insults Tub, Tub snaps and tells Frank he can no longer laugh at Tub or talk to Tub like that; Frank agrees to this.

They load Kenny into the truck bed and cover him with their blankets, but Tub and Frank get so cold that Frank can no longer drive safely, so they pull over at a diner to drink coffee and warm up. Frank confesses that he wants to leave his wife for a fifteen year-old girl with whom he claims to be in love. Tub doesn't judge him and says that being a friend "'means you've always got someone on your side, no matter what.'" They get moving again, but Tub accidentally leaves the written directions on the table, and they don't go back because Frank thinks that he remembers them.

Soon, they get too cold to continue and have to stop again. This time, Tub confesses that he isn't overweight because of his glands but because he, as he says, "'just shovel[s] it in.'" He eats nonstop. As if to support him, Frank orders a large quantity of pancakes and encourages Tub to eat all of it, expressing no judgment.

As they get on the road again, Frank and Tub decide to use Kenny's blankets for themselves, since the wind has been blowing them off Kenny anyway. Tub tells Frank that the farmer told Kenny to shoot the dog. Neither Tub nor Frank realizes that they are going the wrong direction, away from the hospital. Kenny keeps saying to himself, "I am going to the hospital," but the story ends without any suggestion that this is the case.

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