Epic Moment: First Light

Curt Wells was astonished with the little things that his grandson enjoyed, like watching a spectacular sunrise.

It was 2006, in the moments before a late-September dawn, my two sons and I were setting our duck decoys and were about to take cover in the thick cattails. Our special guest in the duck boat was my grandson, Carson, who had just turned five years old. Despite his young age he was eager to follow in the footsteps of his elders, at least when it came to hunting, fishing and the outdoors. He was actually excited to crawl out of bed at 4:00 a.m. to experience his very first day of duck hunting. It didn't matter that he couldn't hunt himself. He just wanted to be with us. And the feeling was mutual.



In the pre-dawn darkness, Carson asked if he could throw out some decoys. With his very own headlamp flickering back and forth, he carefully placed each decoy where instructed, making sure they stayed upright. It seemed a minor privilege to us. To Carson, it was a big deal.


Once we were tucked into the cattails Carson took charge of watching the time, knowing we couldn't shoot until the first legal minute. His constant updates spoke to his excitement for getting the show started. But it had already begun. Blue-winged teal zipped over our heads, splashing down among the decoys in the shallow North Dakota slough. Mallard wings whistled overhead and Canada geese honked in the distance. It was a perfect morning — maybe not for duck hunting — but for sharing.


Then, without warning, Carson shattered the quietness of dawn.

"Grandpa! Look!" he yelled as he pointed to the east.


"What? What?" I answered, expecting to see a grizzly or pterodactyl or something equally astonishing.

As if he were about to explode Carson blurted, "The sun is coming up!"

Those words hit me with enough force to be forever etched in the granite façade of my memory. A daily event I'd witnessed countless times, over more years than I care to remember, was a moment of awe for my young grandson. I admit to feeling a measure of shame. How could I take such a grandiose moment for granted, thinking little of it until Carson recognized the wonder of it all? He'd seen many sunsets in his young life but this was likely his first sunrise. I sat there, allowing the true meaning of this epic moment to soak in. I have to admit it lead to a welling in my eyes.

Meanwhile, my 32-something sons were on full alert, watching for incoming ducks, but there weren't many birds in the calm, blue sky. Just as well. The sound of gunfire would have broken the spell.

To be honest, I can't remember if we shot any ducks that morning, but I have cherished every single sunrise since.

Recommended for You

Dr. Dave Samuel breaks down the facts. Conservation

Is A Miracle Cure for CWD on the Horizon?

Dr. Dave Samuel

Dr. Dave Samuel breaks down the facts.

Daily workouts condition your body, yes, but perhaps more importantly, they condition your mind. Stories

Mental Toughness for Bowhunting

Dan Stanton

Daily workouts condition your body, yes, but perhaps more importantly, they condition your...

This Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe is meaty, easy to make in a slow cooker, and exactly what you'll want to come home to on a chilly weeknight Recipes

Slow Cooker Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe

Jessyca Sortillon

This Venison and Cabbage Stew Recipe is meaty, easy to make in a slow cooker, and exactly what...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daybreak Whitetail Bowhunt

Daybreak Whitetail Bowhunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek has a chance to fill his buck tag on a mixed bag hunt in Texas.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

Curt Wells provides color commentary on some of the team's best turkey hunts, including this one with his grandson in Kansas.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 12: Deer Slam!

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 12: Deer Slam!

Bowhunter Magazine Editor Curt Wells lives his life-long dream of taking all five species of North American deer.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Chasing predators is great for calming big-game nerves. Other Game

Tips for Bowhunting Predators

Joe Bell

Chasing predators is great for calming big-game nerves.

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely. Scouting Tools

Advancements in Rangefinder Technology Through the Years

Chuck Adams

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely.

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort. How-To

Tree Saddle Hunting — Demo Climb With Aider

Mike Carney - June 07, 2019

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.

See More Stories

More Industry

 No one in the room could have guessed how that Bear Whitetail would shape our lives. 

Industry

The Legacy of a Bear Whitetail

Randy Hynes - December 22, 2015

No one in the room could have guessed how that Bear Whitetail would shape our lives. "Don't

Bowhunter Publisher Jeff Waring honors Wildlife Research Center co-founder John Burgeson and salutes the company for 35 strong years! Industry

Thankful for 35 Years of Scent Science

Jeff Waring - November 18, 2018

Bowhunter Publisher Jeff Waring honors Wildlife Research Center co-founder John Burgeson and...

A new hunter-harvested world-record bighorn was arrowed by Clayton Miller in South Dakota. Industry

South Dakota Bighorn Ram Confirmed as New Hunter-Harvested World Record

Lynn Burkhead - February 04, 2019

A new hunter-harvested world-record bighorn was arrowed by Clayton Miller in South Dakota.

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×