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The other morning Brandon received a frantic phone call from another employee searching for a gun. Of course Brandon’s initial response was “What are you going to shoot?” But, I get ahead of myself.
The story really began when Max was born and he entered the world with a gun in one hand and a foot trap in the other. I exaggerate a bit, but Max has been obsessed with hunting, trapping, and fishing from very little on. He has slowly accumulated enough hunting paraphernalia to last him a lifetime. Whenever I ask Max, “Why do you need one more hunting gadget?”, he will always respond, “Why do you need one more pair of running shoes?”. Point well taken. He equates his love of hunting to my love of running. It’s never enough!
Back to the story. Max was hanging out at the farm one day and had some very small foot traps with him. Too small to catch anything bigger than a mouse he said. He decided to set the trap about three feet from the entrance to our shop. Without a second thought, he moved on with his life. Until the other morning when Max’s foot trap did catch something bigger than a mouse. In fact, caught in the trap was a ornery skunk. To make matters worse, Great Grandpa’s 70-year-old gun wasn’t working. I can’t believe the gun would pick a moment like that to call it quits.
So, Brandon received a call from our employee looking for a gun that was manufactured in the past decade. Of course we had one at the house. Heck, Max has enough guns to last him a lifetime… Oh that’s right, you can never have enough guns or running shoes!
Bow hunting has started in Minnesota. In the past, I had been completely unaware of the hunting season, but my son Max really has a passion for hunting, trapping, and fishing, so I’ve definitely become more informed. On Friday evening Max asked me, “Do you want to hunt with me in the morning?” I’ve never hunted before, so it caught me by surprise. I answered, “Sure.”
Saturday morning I sent Brandon and our daughters off to work in the sow unit and I woke up Max. He was excited to get up and get going. We put on the usual camouflage clothing. Max looked like a tree with leaves hanging off of his clothes. We then drove out to what we refer to as “back of the woods”. Max got his bow out and gave me a backpack to wear.
We quietly walked out to a tree where Max and Brandon had built a tree stand. We climbed up into the tree and sat and sat and sat. Once settled in, we started to hear the world waking up. The sky delivered a magnificent sunrise. A painting of pink, purple, and red. That would have been reason enough to get up before dawn. Then two ducks flew down to the pond below us and found breakfast for themselves. As we listened to the wildlife around us, a deer slowly walked out of the woods. Three more followed. We just watched because they were too far away for Max to have a shot at them. After a time, they wandered back into the woods.
Max then had an idea, “We should follow the deer.” I was game for whatever he wanted to do, since I had no idea what’s involved with hunting. We climbed back down from the tree stand and walked over to the opening in the trees where the deer had just been. As we went farther into the woods we spotted two of the deer. When they moved, we moved. We followed them for as long as they would allow. Finally we lost sight of their white tails.
Then we just walked and talked and enjoyed nature all around us. It was really a special time with Max. It’s amazing what an 11-year-old can teach you if you let him.