Throughout oneâ€™s bowhunting career, or whatever you want to call this thing we do, there are a few of those special moments that make all the preparation, expense, early mornings and long hikes worth the effort. Those all-to-rare moments make us smile deep inside, maybe even bring a tear or two, but itâ€™s the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that make such moments stick in our memory.
Iâ€™ve been fortunate enough to have many special moments starting with the day I killed my first deer, a whitetail doe, with a Jennings T-Star. My first bull elk, taken in the third year of trying, was a very special moment. Then there was a Minnesota deer I called â€śThe Ridge Buck.â€ť He wasnâ€™t especially large but was a buck I committed to hunting exclusively one season. When I finally arrowed that buck on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the sensation of success was very sweet.
There have been many other special bowhunting moments involving a monster caribou, an 80â€ť pronghorn, an Alberta muley buck, and a gargantuan 400-class bull elk in Arizona that I was unable to get drawn on. It was an unsuccessful moment but a special one, nonetheless.
Not one of those special moments were any more satisfying than the one I experienced just a couple weeks ago. I was sitting in a ground blind with my youngest son, Jared. Despite some terrible wind and rain we were trying to lure in a North Dakota gobbler. Just sixty yards away was another blind. Inside was my oldest son, Jason, and his 10-year-old son, my grandson, Carson.
The action was almost nonexistent but then, as if by some Divine Intervention, a lone gobbler ambled over the hill and walked right up to the decoy in front of Carsonâ€™s blind and popped into strut. While watching through binoculars, my mind flashed back over the previous five years that Carson has been learning to shoot a bow. He camped out with gramps at 3-D shoots in the summers and over the past two years he and I learned to bowfish together. But this was different. This would be the first time he would draw his Bear Apprentice on a game animal. And make no mistake, turkeys are game animals. They are tough and can stop an arrow that would easily zip through an 800-pound bull elk.
As the turkey strutted, gramps was tore up inside with anxiety. I knew Carson was even more nervous because the evening before he talked about how he couldnâ€™t get the gobbling out of his head from that morningâ€™s hunt.
When the bird turned to face the blind an arrow flashed from the open window. The two-bladed broadhead split the tip of the longbeardâ€™s breastbone and after a couple flips Carson had his first official bowkill with a perfect shot. And I was there to watch it all happen!
I smiled deep inside.
With an unforgettable congratulatory hug, tears welled up in my eyes.
It was a very satisfying, very special moment indeed.
Hereâ€™s hoping you experience many special bowhunting moments of your own.