Categorized | Opinion

More to Hunting than Killing

By Josh Gowan

Pictured is Perry Jackson with a couple Wappapello Lake slab crappie.

Pictured is Perry Jackson with a couple Wappapello Lake slab crappie.

Yet another week in the great outdoors has passed, and my freezer is not any fuller than it was. We have worked as hard as any father-son combo since Archie Manning bought Peyton his first football, and yet, we are without our first “W”, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
We hunted every day of muzzleloader season except for Christmas, and that was only because of family commitments that were too far from our spot. I worked every day until 2 p.m. or so and then headed north, and my wife has dressed him and brought him south to meet me so as to have more time in the woods. I didn’t expect to be able to hunt today, but this morning I got a call from a friend who had an opening at a place I’m familiar with that has a lot of deer, and I called my wife and asked if she could take off early and bring him down (I work in Caruthersville and we live in Sikeston, and have been hunting in between). She had our son in Portageville by 3 p.m. and we were off once again. It has truly been a family effort, and working for fellow outdoorsmen at Grizzly has certainly helped, as they’ve let me off whenever we were able to hunt.
On the way home tonight, with one more day to hunt before our year is up since I’ll be working a show in Illinois next weekend during Missouri’s 2nd youth season, we reflected back on our season.
I told him that we were actually pretty lucky. “Imagine if the very first morning we hunted together back in October, if you’d have shot a deer at dawn, that would have ended our season. We wouldn’t have gotten to travel all over the place and see so many different areas. We wouldn’t have gotten to hang out and you wouldn’t have learned near as much about deer hunting,” I told him during a heartfelt father-son moment. He added, “Yeah, and I wouldn’t have gotten near as much sleep OR got so far on the deer hunting game on your phone. By the way, can I play it now?” Well, what are you gonna do?!
Honestly though we have had a blast, and if we don’t seal the deal tomorrow then so be it. I hope every deer season with him is just as long, although eventually we’ll probably need to shoot something, otherwise he may start to doubt the validity of the entire process!
Late this evening during the last few minutes of shooting hours, I thought I saw something off in the distance, and stuck my head out of the side window of our pop-up blind to investigate. Unable to see anything, I pulled my head back in and couldn’t locate enough of the folding chair with my hind quarters, thus beginning a very slow fall backwards into my son. He was sitting on a small tripod seat and holding the gun, and as I felt myself pushing into him, there was nothing I could grab to stop the fall, and was barely able to alter my path so that I didn’t come down right on top of him. “Dad!?” he whisper-yelled at me as I pushed him into the side of the blind and we both headed for the ground. The blind has no bottom, and with our weight falling into it, it turned on its side as we laid out on the ground. I regained my feet quickly and looked at him, and his facial expression was a mixture of surprise, anger, and “am I in trouble”, and he quickly pointed out that he’d kept the gun off the ground and aimed away from us, as he’s been taught!
I helped him up and we laughed about it, and decided it was probably time to go since any deer within miles would have heard that crash! Now if we’d have killed a deer back in October, that would have never happened and we wouldn’t have had yet another story to tell!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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