I love hunting with Cameron more than anything and I look forward to sharing a stand with Carter once he gets a little older. Cameron is a trooper and loves going hunting
with me and I am so glad that he enjoys our trips. Carter will have the benefit of a more experienced Dad than what Cameron has to put up with. I try my hardest to make the right decisions but I also like to allow Cameron to have some control over the hunt. Most of the time I let him pick which stand to hunt, choose which gun he wants to carry (within reason of course), and select the items to take in his backpack. With that being said I learned a valuable lesson on a recent afternoon hunt. To much control can result in a long tiring hunt.
One afternoon while working on the farm I decided that we should grab our gear and hunt. Naturally, Cameron agreed and was excited about going. We dropped what we were doing and started to get ready to hunt. It takes a little longer to get us both ready but it is always well worth it. As we were getting dressed I asked Cameron where he would like to hunt… I had a specific tower stand in mind but since I gave him the option it was entirely up to him. What I had planned and what he had planned were not exactly on the same page. He told me he wanted to hunt from his “hunting tent”. His hunting tent is actually a pop up blind that is stored in the garage. The pop up blind is fairly easy to set up but not as easy as just walking to an existing stand. Mistake 1: I agreed to his plan and said I knew a great location for us to hunt but it would require a long walk.
We packed our gear in the truck, grabbed the blind and drove to a ridge on our farm. From the ridge we would have to walk a few hundred yards to this ideal location that I had in mind. Mistake 2 was just made. Walking a few hundred yards with a kid and all of this gear was easier said than done. I had the blind strapped to my back, my Tikka T3 .300 Win mag, and a couple of light weight chairs. Cameron had his backpack full of goodies and the gun of his choice which was his scoped 22 Mag rifle. Needless to say that we didn’t make it far before the rifle got a little heavy for him. We had to stop and re-position our gear to allow me to carry his rifle in addition to everything else. Mistake 3: allowing him to carry a rifle that is heavier than he could handle on his own.
By the time we made it to the idea spot we were both tired and hot. The area I had chose to hunt was perfect. It overlooked a small open field with green grass surrounded by oaks. The acorn crop this fall was massive! We decided to set the blind in the woods 10 yards away from the edge of the field. This allowed for us to see back in the woods, down a old logging road, and the field. I was excited and expressed my excitement to Cameron. I could tell that he was excited too.
For some reason pop up blinds never seem to just “pop up” when you are in a hurry. After wrestling with the blind for a few moments we were finally ready to sit down and wait for the deer to pour in this area. Mistake 4: Remember the hot and tired part? That took a toll on Cameron. He was just about over the hunt before we even got started. Luckily, I noticed a fresh rub line a few feet away. This gave me a chance to regain his attention and teach him a little something. I explained in detail the process of antler growth, velvet on the horns and the shedding of velvet. I am sure most of it went in one ear and out the other but he was excited that the rub meant a buck was using the area.
As we waited quietly, a few does entered the field shortly before dark. Cameron enjoyed watching them with his binoculars as they carefully slipped from one side of the field to the other and disappeared in the hardwoods. Unfortunately, those few does were the only deer for us that evening. Before long we had to pack everything up and head back to the truck.
The walk back seemed just as long but well worth it. When we finally got to the truck and Cameron was buckled in for the short drive home we discussed the hunt. I apologized for the mistakes that I made and discussed building a permanent stand in that location. Cameron didn’t seem to notice the mistakes but was fixated on the upcoming project. He is excited about the opportunity to be part of building a stand and was talking about design ideas. The lesson I learned is that even though I made some mistakes and bad judgement calls for our hunt he didn’t notice… In fact, he was looking forward to a project that we could tackle this spring. Another reason why I love being outdoors with kids!