Saturday, November 21, 2009

Drakes first deer hunt!

Well I decided that my two year old son Drake was gonna go out into the deer woods with me for an evening hunt. Many people said that I was crazy. They gave me all kinds of reasons on why he shouldn't go. With many more excuses than legit reasons.

I decided that the weather was going to be pretty warm and he would be ok inside my box blind. I kind had an idea that he was at least interested enough to go. How long he would stay out would be a different story. You see I am in the field about four to five days a week. When I come home I get to hear him say some of his favorite phrases:
"Daddy did you shoot the deer?"

"Daddy did you shoot the ducks?"

"Daddy did you shoot the bow?"
"Daddy did you shoot the gun?"

That is usually the first part of our conversation when I walk through the front door. Usually after that,it is a big hug and kiss for daddy. Man I look forward to that.

I ask Drake if he wants to go "shoot the deer", and he answers "YES!". Kinda what I expected. So we get ready and gather our things. This will definitely be a different "hunt" for me so I have to remember a whole different set of gear. Crayons, coloring book, snack sticks, milk and well you get the point. So we load up the truck and off we go.

We get to the woods at about 3:00. Get our gear on and off to the blind we go. He was pretty excited to be going. Although I think I was more excited than him. We get to the blind and we take a seat. Then out comes the goodies. We laugh and have a good time and I am wondering just how long he will be able to stay out. It gets dark at 5:30 so if we make it til 4:00 it will be a great start to his hunting career.

Well 4:00 comes and goes and he is still having fun. Man this boy is destined to be a sportsman. Then there it is the first doe of the evening. Drake spots her walking and let's me know. "Daddy deer!" The deer looks and keep on going. I was looking for a doe since I have already used my buck tags, but she was a little on the small side. It was starting to rain and Drake wanted to touch it so he starts to put his hand out to feel the rain. He thinks it is the coolest thing. I let him know everything in the outdoors is cool.

Well 4:45 comes and there is the doe I have been looking for! I point her out to Drake and he reminds me to be quiet. "Shhhh daddy. Deer." I now have a dilemma on whether to take the shot.

If I do and the deer takes off, I will have to track it with Drake in the rain. How cool would that be though to get a deer with him on his first trip. Do I really want to take the chance of possibly having to track it in the rain? It would be pretty cool to get a deer on his first trip.

Well I let her walk and we sat and finished off the milk and snack sticks and watched the woods get dark. He made it through the whole evening without complaining at all. I made the right decision on letting the deer walk because we were having a great time just seeing the deer and maybe having to track one in the light rain would have put a damper on a great day. We packed up and headed home. He was so happy and excited to tell "Grandpa Great" on the way out he saw the deer in the woods. He talked about it all the way home and all night and all morning and all evening and on and on. I think it is safe to say I have a new hunting buddy.

I look forward to getting him out more and more. He keeps asking to go so I am going to keep taking him as much as I can. My only problem is, what am I gonna do when the season is over? Well I guess we can "shoot the bow" until the next season!

So until my next blog, be safe, appreciate what you have and get in the great outdoors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Put Me In Coach!

So I am toasty warm and dreaming of duck hunting when I hear my cell phone ring.

"Hello." "Chico are you in the mood to go out in the morning to get after some ducks?" "Mike? What time is it?"

"It is a little after midnight and I know you had been talking to Kevin about getting out and he happens to have tomorrow off and well I am able to so....."

You see Kevin isn't a waterfowler. He has never been, but to his credit he had already went out and bought a waterfowl shotgun and bought his license. He has been after us to get him out and after hearing us swap stories with George on Sunday I know he was itching to get out.

"Put me in coach. Meet me at the house at 4:15."

Man am I easy! I got up and got my stuff together which isn't too hard since it is almost always in the truck. Just for moments like these. Set the mud timer and back to bed I go. I slept for what seemed like an eternity. Yeah right, it was more like a commercial break! The alarm went off and I was promptly greeted with a nice push in the back from my wife with the encouraging words of "GET UP!"
I poured myself some mud and got ready. I walked out the door and was promptly greeted with a "morning" from Mike. Whoah buddy, take it easy up here in the city that will get you hurt sneaking up on people like that. We loaded up Kevin and Mike's gear and Uh Oh! Chico can't find his license.

Have no fear ladies and gentlemen after 20 minutes of making a bunch of noise and turning on numerous lights in the house I remembered where it was. In my blind bag from my last trip and I forgot to put it back in my wallet. Off we go to the flooded maize field.
It was pretty foggy until we got to the field. We were able to set up without issue. At first light we saw thousands of duck and geese. Then the fog rolled in and wasn't leaving anytime soon. I thought Kevin was gonna go nuts. I mean after seeing all those birds and now we are covered in fog and can barely see our decoys. I know it was driving me nuts hearing the wing beats, quacks and honks and not being able to see the birds making that noise.

Then I heard a drake mallard over my shoulder and he is circling into the decoys. Well you guessed it, Kevin shot his first mallard or duck for that matter on his first ever duck hunt AND it had jewelry! That's right, it was banded. Go figure. I have hunted for a long time and I have never got a banded duck and this joker comes out and smacks one on his first hunt. Kevin was excited and Mike and I were excited for him.
That is what is special about getting people out to do something they have never done before. This was the second banded bird that I have seen taken this year and both were the first bands for the hunter. I think it is safe to say that I am sure I will be getting another call very soon from a very excited and proud waterfowler to go out and chase some birds. I just want to say Congratulations to Kevin on his day of firsts. I was glad I could be a part of his special day.

As for Mike and I, well, we couldn't see much to shoot until it was time to go home. I guess if your only going to get one bird in the group it might as well be a banded one!

So until my next blog, be safe, appreciate what you have and get into the great outdoors.