Bow hunting: A family affair
By Ben Gruber
A few years back I thought it would be a great idea to try and get my wife into bow hunting, envisioning spending many romantic hours in scent-free clothing in a tiny tree stand watching for “the big one.” The idea was born partly out of necessity. We were married on Sept. 24, and I thought if I could get her into bow hunting, maybe we could take a hunting trip for our anniversary every year. I had grand visions of moose hunting in Alaska for our 10-year, maybe even elk in Arizona.
As I write this, I am packing for an elk and deer hunting trip in Montana and evaluating the success of my plan. My wife, Angie, loves hunting with a bow. She shot a beautiful eight-point buck on our property two years ago. She picked the spot, hung the tree stand, shot the deer, found it, field dressed it, and got it out of the woods while I was at work. So in that respect, plan successful, but she is not going with me to Montana, and I have not talked her into an anniversary hunting trip yet.
The unintended consequence of my grand scheme that I must warn you about if you have a similar plan of your own: trying to find where all of my hunting gear has gone. I did not think of that. I also did not think that on some of the best hunting days of fall, I would be at home braiding the hair on play ponies watching Momma head out hunting carrying my best tree stand. All joking aside, bow hunting is a passion that I am happy to share with the rest of the family.
Our daughter Addy has been practicing her “hunting voice” with a promise that I will take her out with me to the blind as soon as she learns some volume control.
Addy and I planted the last of our new apple trees yesterday. We have been using tree tubes to protect them but had to change our game plan and add a wire-fence cage as well. The deer thought the tree tubes were a fun game and would knock them off almost daily to graze on the new trees.
I gave a tree to Addy as a gift and told her some day she could hunt deer near them. No sooner was the dirt filled in when Addy whispered in her hunting voice “Dad, can I shoot a deer now?” Almost immediately after, she got a sad look on her face and said, “Dad, we forgot to bring my bow.”
Lessons in patience are difficult at best, and the explanation that it would be years before deer would eat apples from these trees was too much for a 3-year-old mind to process. I distracted her with snacks. Always have snacks.
Well, back to packing for my trip and searching for my ever-disappearing equipment. I am headed to eastern Montana with one buddy for a public land backpack hunt. I will let you know how it goes.
All joking aside, I love sharing my passion for the outdoors, and especially bow hunting, with my family. I encourage you to do the same.
Ben Gruber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.