A couple of weeks ago, I took a new hunter out into the woods. She has been begging me for the past couple of years, and I finally gave in and said "yes". When I told her she could go upstairs and get some of her camo clothes on, her eye's lit up. She ran upstairs as quickly as she could and came down with everything camo she could grab. Her own camo pants, her brother's camo hooded sweatshirt, and a pair of my old hunting gloves. She was ready. She was born ready. I speak to my wife on the phone telling her that nothing will happen and we are just going to a few spots that I know very well. "I know" she replies. "But she's only four. Try and be careful." she says again with a quiver in her voice. "I will. We will be home by dark." I tell her as my daughter is pulling at my pant leg, asking if we can go yet. So off we go. My first hunting trip with Caitlyn. We make our first stop at the gas station to buy supplies. "Well need food" she says. So we load up on peanuts and gummi worms and a few other candy items. Then we head over to the cooler and she stares for a second. "What do we drink when we hunt, daddy?". "Whatever you want" so she grabbed a coke and I grabbed some water. Now, off to the hunting grounds. We headed back to a wooded spot in Seven Lakes State Park not too far from our house and started to sneak in. I was amazed at how quiet she could be. This, from the girl who at times can sound like a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant. We found a log to sit on a ways back and we started the wait. She asked what we were doing and I told her that we were waiting to for the squirrels to think that we we gone. Then, they would come out and we could take them. I told her to keep an eye out on the ground and in the trees and to look for any movement. She was on high alert. Every single noise or movement, she wanted to know if it was a squirrel. She would be still for about four or five minutes, then start to get rowdy. I'd tell her that she needed to sit quiet and she would for another minute or so. I really didn't expect to see any game that day. It was more about spending time with my daughter out in the woods and getting her ready for those times when hunting would be a little more of our focus. We went from spot to spot, and we saw a lot of birds and chipmunks and other little creatures, but no squirrels. But it was still a good time out. We sat down a few times and ate our snacks and sipped our drinks and talked more than we have in a while. When it started to get dark, we were heading out and I said to my daughter "Hey, we should just camp out here. It'll be fun!" all the while knowing she would not want to and that we would just head home. Then she replied "Sure dad! Let's stay out here!". Well, I wasn't expecting that one. So I had to explain to her that we were in the middle of a state park and we couldn't just set up camp. Plus, mom might get a little mad (remember, mom is at home thinking that we have both been eaten by a bear, or worse). As we left the woods, we came across a little playground and she played on the swings for a few minutes and ran around like a little kid will. And as we got into the car, she said "I'm glad I'm your new hunting buddy, daddy.". It almost brought a tear to my eye.
Dad's New Hunting Buddy!!!!