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.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 6: Great Start!

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 6: Great Start!

Guest hunter Christian Berg visits Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky and gets his deer-hunting season off to a great start with an amazing velvet buck.

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson spot-and-stalks hogs and whitetails in Texas.

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 2

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 2

Bowhunter TV's Derek Mleynek and Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson head to Texas for a late-season mixed bag hunt in a truly target-rich environment.

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells has a friendly bowfishing competition with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team on Kentucky Lake.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

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.

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting. How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant. Other Game

Massive Alaskan Brown Bear is the New World Record

Lynn Burkhead - October 18, 2018

Archer Chris Cammack has arrowed the new world record for brown bears with his Alaskan giant.

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

See More Trending Articles

More Industry

Well, Wyoming, I'm tapping out. It wasn't too long ago that I thought I'd draw a once-in-a-lifetime Industry

Troubling Trend For Non-Resident Hunters

Tony J. Peterson - February 05, 2018

Well, Wyoming, I'm tapping out. It wasn't too long ago that I thought I'd draw a...

Rosey Roseland secures new Pope and Young world record mountain goat in Alaska! Industry

Alaska Mountain Goat is Pope And Young's New World Record

Lynn Burkhead - February 15, 2020

Rosey Roseland secures new Pope and Young world record mountain goat in Alaska!

Editor Curt Wells gets you ready for the 2019 Archery Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky! Industry

Sweet 16: As Another ATA Show Opens, Editor Curt Wells Looks Ahead to Louisville

Lynn Burkhead

Editor Curt Wells gets you ready for the 2019 Archery Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky!

Bowhunter staff acknowledges passing of longtime editor Dwight Schuh. Industry

A Bowhunting Icon, Dwight Schuh, Passes

Staff reports - February 06, 2019

Bowhunter staff acknowledges passing of longtime editor Dwight Schuh.

See More Industry

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now