11 year-old gets green light on a booner!
My son and I, "Team Inside Out", loaded up and hit the road for southern Indiana. It's October 25th. The time all whitetail hunters dream of is just around the corner. I thought a great way to get my son to drool over the thought of a giant Booner Buck would be to do a little spot lighting down here late Sunday evening. I was right. We went for a short fifteen minute ride and lost count over 75 deer! Hunter said, "Dad this is amazing". My job was done. Now off to bed for him to dream of the big ole buck like I did when I was a kid.
Way before the rooster crows, we set out for the half mile hike to our favorite spot. Walking back as quiet as can be. Strapped down and carrying over $2000 of the highest quality equipment known to man. High strength steel, aircraft aluminum, deer urine, roller sears, carbon, zero torque technology, gps, satellites linked to our every move. You get the picture. We were so cool. Using our finest ninja skills to slip in as quiet as possible. It all kinda just hit me.. As a shop owner I can tell you it takes a ton of high quality top-notch equipment and accessories to go hunting.. Just ask me at the store!
While out in the woods with my son, Id go afield with an old Jennings, half dozen autumn orange Easton's, tipped with Bear Razorheads shooting a blazing 185fps. What truly matters is being out there. Up a ladder stand next to a big rub and fresh scrape would be my boys spot for the next few hours. I took my lone wolf climber and shimmied up a tree just 30 yards away. Far enough apart we could each get a shot, but close enough I could see the expressions on his face.
About 9 am, we hadn't seen the first deer. It was a cool morning and the wind was about to blow us out of the tree. I looked at my lil buddy settin up in his stand. All of a sudden he seemed startled. Very, very, slowly, he stood up and looked my way. Ever so stealthy and ninja-like, he pointed to the ground beneath his stand. I knew he was on to something good. It was at that time, I seen something move below his stand. It was a "Booner"! I mean it was a good one! No, not the big buck you thought I was talking about. Ya see.. This was "just" a squirrel! What you don't know, is he has been chomping at the bit to pinwheel him a squirrel this year. He has yet to lay the smack down on those lil tree rats in all his 11 years of existence. Ever so slightly he made a motion as if he was drawing his bow. This was his way of asking permission to take the shot. Take the shot? Take the shot? And make the noise from the sound of the bow at just a squirrel? But all of our high end equipment invested out here.. Our ninja skills walking in.. The preparation.. What if that big buck was about to show himself? I looked back at him and shook my head... yes. You see.. to him and many other kids, it was the same as if he'd had a giant whitetail standing broadside. Unlike you and I, he hasn't been subjected to years of marketing, media, tv personalities, etc. it didn't have to be a giant whitetail. His knees were shaking and he had "squirrel fever" just the same. Surprised and happy that I motioned yes to him, he quickly went to "game on" mode. His 11 Yr old face went serious. His movements were so stealth I could barely see them. Before I knew it he was at full draw. Aim small miss small I knew he was thinking. All his days of preparation had came down to this. The moment of truth. Thwaccckkk! His arrow was released! He sent that arrow flying right into the pump station of that squirrel! He instantly looked my way. With the biggest cheesiest smile you could imagine he gave me a big-ole high-in-the-air fist pump! Same as you see on tv when someone smokes a "Booner". To him it was the same! He pointed to the ground then gave me a big ole thumbs up! He had just taken his very first squirrel, and with a bow!
Thinking of how cool that just was and what an experience for him, I couldn't help but let the competitive side in me kicked in. Why that lil punk just got something and I didn't. Oh heck no! Off came the Rage and on went the 100gr bullet point. I switched to squirrel mode in an instant. Only a few minutes passed until I spotted a good squirrel trail next to my stand. There was a fresh rub from a big squirrel only ten yards away. Off in the distance I noticed a big one headed my way. He stopped just out of range to work a fresh scrape. That squirrel was in rut for sure. Making his way to about 22 yds, it was time. Waiting for a broadside opportunity, I looked to my boy. He was as excited as could be as he was watching it all unfold. I let that arrow fly and BOOM BABY!! I got him! I did a big-ole high-in-the-air fist pump just as if it were a "Booner". My boy gave me a big thumbs up and even did a fist pump of his own. Setting there for the next hour we each connected with two squirrels for a total of four. Each time with just as much excitement as the last.
We walked out with three this morning as we had to trail one of his and unfortunately lost him. Ya know.. There could have been a big whitetail walk past our stand this morning. I guess we'll never know. What we do know is we just had a hunt that will never be forgotten 5. My son took his first squirrel and we each had a blast.
Cherish what you have while you can as you never know how many more opportunities there may be. Don't take our hunting so serious, especially when there's a kid involved. I can tell you because of our squirrel bonanza, we sat in the woods longer this morning than he has ever in the past. He's already way more excited to get back out there than he ever has been. So did we really miss a Booner? Or could it be a way to pass on that excitement and thrill of the hunt. My boy knowing that an acorn comes from an oak tree and seeing him get squirrel fever is good enough for me.