Throughout one’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 it’s the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that make such moments stick in our memory.
I’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 “The Ridge Buck.” He wasn’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 80” 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 Carson’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 couldn’t get the gobbling out of his head from that morning’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 longbeard’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.
Here’s hoping you experience many special bowhunting moments of your own.