I often get asked what my favorite type of hunting is. Honestly, I don’t think I could pick just one species which is usually the intent of the question. Comparing one type of hunting to another is actually pretty tough. There’s the pleasure of seeing a good dog work a bird that ends in the colorful cackle of a rooster; the short-breathed, excitement of seeing a deer walk within archery range; the pure-pleasure of having the best seat in the world as a flock of ducks descends to your decoys; the spine-tingling rattle of an approaching spring tom – and it goes on & on! However, the best and most truthful answer I can give to this question is that my favorite type of hunt is with my family – regardless of what we happen to be after.
My dad was my first hunting partner and mentor – and still one of my favorites. I am not sure he fully realizes how much of an impact our squirrel, rabbit and pheasant hunting had on my future, but it’s been tremendous. The fire was stoked further when we started hunting with my uncle and a cousin. When my younger brother could be a part of it, I was completely hooked. I live on the memories of these past adventures and look forward to the rare chances of making more of them when I get the opportunity to hunt with these great men. But now I have my own family and I find myself creating some wonderful new ones.
For example the day after Christmas a couple of years back we decided to head out to a small chunk of woods to try out the new sleds and harass the local squirrel population. We did both very well, though no shots were fired. Likely because the questions started as soon as we exited the vehicle and did not stop until the ask-er fell asleep on the ride home. “What kind of squirrels are they?” – “Why do they call them fox squirrels” – “Why don’t they call them raccoon squirrels? – Raccoons climb trees not foxes” – “Where are the squirrels?” – “Why are they here when it’s cold outside?”. At one point mom and son went on a walk in an attempt to allow dad and daughter a chance to see some squirrels in silence. We were able to track their progress as the questions cut through the cold air. “Why do you keep looking up?” – “What do they eat?” – “How do they climb trees?” – “Why don’t we see any raccoon squirrels?”…
Another hunt I will remember for some time was a goose hunt from last year. From the get-go the kids were involved getting the decoys rounded-up, the blinds mudded and the necessary snacks secured, which helped to build the anticipation of the hunt for everyone involved. The kids didn’t mind being covered up in camo and dekes on the pre-dawn drive and it was fun, not work, for them in getting the spread set and the blinds grassed in. The fact that the guns never fired will be forgotten, but not the sprint to the blinds when the first honks of the morning came earlier than expected. As we were picking up our son told us it was the best hunt ever – you know, he was right.
So, get your family rounded up and head outdoors, regardless of what you may or may not bag, it will very likely be a success.