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Part 2: Hunting Takes On New Meanings To A Parent Hunting With Their Children

Part 2: Hunting Takes On New Meanings To A Parent Hunting With Their Children
March 1, 2023

The first hunting season continues 

Part Two  

By: Joel Herrling 

Columbus Day Weekend was finally here and after all the preparations, we thought we were ready to get in the woods for youth season, just my son and me. He seemed enthusiastic; hopefully, he would have an opportunity to harvest his first whitetail successfully. The farmer had recently chopped the corn at our old family farm, which was where we were headed. The first morning, he was exhausted from having football practice all week so I let him sleep in. It wasn’t until that afternoon that we were able to get out. My plan was for him to have a good experience and if this meant sleeping in then so be it. 

Mid-October brought mild weather and with the whitetails not rutting, we settled between a food source and a tall grass bedding area. As the light faded, a doe and fawn made their way through the grass. Something I don’t like doing is shooting does with fawns, after an experience I had when I first started hunting. I don’t think he understood as I tried to explain it to him, but it would be short-lived as three good-sized does came out of the thicket. He was eager to shoot one of them, picking up the gun and resting it on the ledge. Putting the crosshairs on her shoulder, I reminded him to breathe before he took the shot. 

Unfortunately, the rifle he was using had a three-stage trigger, he had been anxious enough that he had thought he flipped it, but he hadn’t. It was the same rifle we had practiced with, but in a nervous tone, he questioned why he had pulled the trigger, and nothing happened. As quickly as I could, I looked at the safety and realized the mistake that was made. It wasn’t all the way flipped up but as soon as we could get him back in position the doe saw us fiddling around and ran off. I joked with him that this was probably the first of numerous opportunities that wouldn’t go the way he thought. That was it for the rest of our evening sit, quite disappointed with this outcome. 

He was determined to try the next morning again. After some coercing, he was up, and we headed back out to the farm but to a different location. Trail cameras had shown numerous does feeding through this spot the last few mornings since the corn had been cut. The sun started to rise, and he saw the world come to life, one of the great things about spending time in nature. After a half hour or so, we had a doe and fawn come through, again having to explain to him that I didn’t think he should shoot. We watched them work through the tall grass, telling him to observe them so that he could see how they behaved and moved. The rest of the morning was lackluster, so we headed down to get some breakfast. That afternoon was more of the same and brought no activity. 

The next morning was Columbus Day, and he had football practice in the morning so I went into work for a couple of hours. We got out to another property behind the house where we had permission to hunt. It was warm, and we sweated as we made our way to the blind. Tucked in a hedgerow between an alfalfa field and corn field. We struck out again with no movement but had a flock of turkeys walk by us. He informed me wanted to try turkey hunting come May, which I was excited to hear!


Although he was unable to harvest his first whitetail with the limited time we had, his curiosity had been sparked. Both he and I learned some things as we spent some time in the whitetail woods. It's not just about harvesting but getting to spend time together, which is rare with all the hustle and bustle of our schedules. To be able to show him something that I enjoy doing and seeing him start to enjoy it as well really captured my emotions. Hopefully, we can get out in May for youth turkey season.

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