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Hunting Through the Eyes of Youth

9/29/14 @ 8:13 AM
Bret Clark
Bret Clark
User since 10/12/12
Ever notice how repetition sometimes narrows the eyes view? I have at times but it really didn’t set in how much until this last trip to the woods Saturday morning with my oldest daughter Jamie Lynn. With a hankering for fried squirrel I picked the daughter up at 6AM, a battle I won the night before with Jamie wanting a 6:30 Start, girls hey? With an hour trip in front of us I knew we were not going to get the “sit down before light” morning start I love but, I shrugged it off keeping in mind this hunt was about my kid sitting next to me. After a stop for a grab and go breakfast sandwich…delays, delays….we finally arrived around 7:20 to the stomping grounds. The forest floor was soft and wet from an earlier heavy fog making for perfect still hunting conditions. With the .410’s loaded, Jamie took point on the trail. It wasn’t long and we had ourselves in the midst of critter action. There was commotion in the tree tops all around us. Now and then we would spot some fur but nothing stayed in the clear or still long enough for a clean shot. I was proud of the patience Jamie showed holding off and not taking any hasty shots. Then it happened, we both caught commotion coming down a close tree between us and a marsh. Big coon I whispered, we both cracked a grin watching this masked creature make way for the ground. Once on the ground at the base of the tree the dude stood on his hind legs giving us the look of discus for interrupting his morning. I have seen this before, yep, but it was Jamie’s first up and close encounter of the Procyon lotor kind. It made me remember my first close encounter with a coon putting an even bigger grin on my face. We were soon back on a slow walk and within yards a tree rat ran from the undergrowth a few feet up the side of an oak getting a look at what was approaching. With tail twitching there was not a lot of time to admire the fur ball, it was time to shoot. Jamie shouldered the .410 and pulled the trigger only to have a miss fire. The squirrel gave her a second shot and escaped only by an inch. Once again I could see the excitement in Jamie as she took aim. Then I felt her disappointment at a miss. I blamed myself for this miss hap. I thought I had this gun working but evidently it waited for a trip to the woods to prove me wrong. From here out Jamie carried the side by side .410. I also realized I haven’t been that excited over a hit and miss forever, but then again I was watching this day through the eyes of youth. There was another tough attempt before the forest became dead silent at 11 o’clock. After a short rest, refreshments, and chuckles over the day’s events, it was time to head back to the truck. The temp was climbing and we were 7 tenths of a mile in the woods. Once again as we walked out my eyes were opened a little wider than normal. We had to stop and take pictures of trees and trails. Yes this time of year is always beautiful, I enjoy it thoroughly, bright colors, cool winds, years of repetition. I do enjoy my time with nature whether woods or water, but it has been awhile since I looked at it through the eyes of youth. I’m glad as Jamie gets older she realizes her dad isn’t a total tard and wants to spend time with the old dude…lol

10/3/14 @ 12:31 PM
User since 12/31/10
Ten 4 Bret. Thanks for opening my eyes. Good luck to you and girl.

10/2/14 @ 12:41 PM
User since 6/20/03
That was a good read Bret Clark. Right on.

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