Thanksgiving Break would be our first road trip out west of 2018. Carson would accompany us on the 20 hour drive to the middle of no where in search of the ultimate waterfowl mecca. I watched Chris prepare Carson all summer long for these exact moments to come. All those late afternoons shooting skeet off the dock would collide in an emotional moment I relive every time I see the pictures.
From day one walking in the woods with my own Dad, I found my purpose.I believe full-heartedly that God created us, gave us thumbs and put us at the top of the food chain for a reason.Hunting is release and place where I feel like I belong. Out here where there is more waterfowl, whitetails and cows than humans allow you to witness and appreciate the world for exactly how God created it. The great outdoors is a place where traditions and beliefs can be passed down in the realist, purest fashion.
It’s November 15th and we had just rolled into parts unknown the afternoon prior. We gained access to a goose feed that had a little over eight hundred birds feeding in a wheat field. The feed was a mix of mostly lessers and specks. A few adult snows were milling around too. Today, we arrived a few hours prior to the time we had seen them here the yesterday. We decided to lie in whites and mix in honkers and speck full bodies around the outside edges. Carson helped carry decoy bags and set out snow socks all while cracking jokes and making us laugh. Once set up, we laid awaiting the first flight to make their appearance. About 45 minutes later, a single Canada lesser circled in from behind us. The goose landed to the left side of the spread. Carson’s side. With a single shot from his .410 pump, Carson sat up from the middle of snow socks and smoked his first goose. This would be his first waterfowl he had taken solo. Immediately, after he shot he yelled “I got it!”. The excitement in his tone was as real as it gets. Chris told him to go get him. Nine-year-old, Carson ran over and picked up his prize. His smile was as contagious and my heart was beyond full. Proud is a complete understatement.
November 16th, it’s late and we have been scouting all day. We finally stumbled on a group of ducks going down in what we thought was a cut milo field. We parked the truck at the edge of the field and decided to creep over a little hill that blocked the full view of the feed. With Chris leading the way and Carson right on his boot heels we stalked up on an unexpected pond full of ducks. Chris pointed out all the waterfowl to Carson and made sure he got a front row seat at such an incredible sight. We sat and watched those ducks dip and dive as the sky turned purple. Carson sat in awe, pointing out every new group of birds that came to join the party. The following morning hunt would be one for the books.
November 17th, the sun was still asleep. The truck was put in park and it was time for the set up to begin. Myself and Carson along with 5 other guys set up a few A-frames while Chris set the spread. It didn’t take long to get ready with that amount of hands, which was something were not use to. With the blinds brushed and everyone in position it was time. Shooting time came and it wasn’t long before we had close to a limit. A single, hen pintail came soaring in the spread and stalled out at about 20 yards. Chris sounded out and told all the guys this was Carson’s duck. Chris then said to Carson, “whenever your ready.” Carson stood up over the A-frame and shot. BOOM. The pintail fell out of the sky and hit the water. The whole crowd instantaneously let out cheers and my heart was screaming with pride. Chris grabbed Carson and embarrassed him in a bear hug. Carson’s first duck! A morning and a hunt I will never forget.
Children are a reflection of you as a parent. Although they are not always on their best behavior and will test the limits whenever they can, they are the greatest responsibility you will have in your entire life. Your time is the greatest gift you can give to them. All those late afternoons, watching Chris throw clay after clay to help Carson learn to lead and aim, couldn’t have been illustrated better when seeing him shoot his first goose and duck. This was the first year Carson was able to handle his gun solo and to witness his own passion unfold was the ultimate pay off. The youth are a reflection of their surroundings. God creates our children and it is up to us to illustrate right from wrong, the golden rule, and pass on traditions. Now hunting means even more to me knowing I’m able to pass it on to future generations. It will be in Carson’s hands to do the same for his children and I am thankful to be apart of such an honorable gift.