It’s the thought of releasing an arrow on a big bull at 32 yards that gives me the motivation to climb 2,000 vertical feet in the dark. It’s the chance of a better opportunity on a strutting tom that makes it easy to set the alarm 2 hours earlier to move the blind to a better position. It’s the possibility of a Pope & Young antelope coming in for a sip of water that allows me to suffer in hundred-degree temperatures inside a blind in August, and it’s the gamble of a giant whitetail wandering out at last light that gives me the patience to sit and freeze inside the same blind all day in December. It is these split-second opportunities for success that I look forward to during each season.
However, if I think about all of my experiences in the field, the most vivid memories that my brain can recall rarely have anything to do with my successes. Ironically, it is the chance of success that motivates me for future hunts, but it is the memories of the time spent with my family and friends that I seem to cherish the most.
The Memories That Stick With Us
Many of my best memories of growing up pertain to the variety of adventures my dad took me on. Memories of steelhead fishing, elk hunting, backpacking, and rafting are the easiest to recall. And my fondest memories have little to do with the fish we caught or the animals we shot. For instance, my favorite memory of steelhead fishing was when my dad surprised me and pulled me out of school in 4th grade to jump on the river for the afternoon. No clue if we caught anything. I’m sure I ate my share of snacks (along with his), and I can picture the warm October sun on my face as my dad rowed the drift boat through each steelhead hole on the Salmon River along the cliffs below town. He probably had to remind me fifty times to keep my rod tip up. J
We killed plenty of deer and elk when I was younger, but when I think back about hunting with my dad, I think more about the cold pizza lunches we’d have sitting on a rock, just happy to be giving our feet a rest. Watching the flame and smoke roll out of the barrel on my first muzzleloader hunt with my dad – the sound, the smell, and the chaos that seems to ensue after letting a maxi ball fly. Or the drives home well after dark, listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival on cassette or catching the high school football game on FM radio, using a coat hanger for an antenna. Or maybe the day my when the liner of my pack boots literally disintegrated after climbing 1,000 feet up to the knob between Burns Basin and Wagon Hammer. I was only 6 years old, but I can remember two steps up and sliding back one on the icy slope. These are the types of memories that I tend to recall when I think about my early years of hunting and fishing. These are the memories that make me… me.
The Memories We Get to Help Create
Now that I’m a dad, I get to experience it all from the other side as my daughter gets a bit older and shows interest in the outdoors. With her first hunting season under her belt, my wife and I got to watch Sydney harvest her first deer. There’s always a mix of emotions with the first animal (and all of them, to some degree), and I’m glad she was able to have a successful hunt. However, when I think back about the few days we hunted, I rarely think about the final moments of the hunt. What comes to mind is this: the time we had as a family; the crazy stories my friend and business partner, Jerrod, told us about his childhood in Alaska; Laurie hiking to the blind, carrying two armfuls of clothes; Sydney sprawled out on the tailgate, eating Doritos; the entire crew eating candy while all four of us stuffed ourselves into the ground blind; and going out for pizza on the last night and talking about all the events over the last couple days. Do any of these memories have anything to do with hunting? I believe these memories have everything to do with hunting. I can’t wait to make more of these types of memories with my family and friends.
A New Season Means New Opportunties
As the sun shines a little longer each day, and as the snow begins to melt, I’m reminded that turkey season will be here soon. If there is a perfect time and place to spend time with your kids and to make some great memories, time in a ground blind waiting to ambush a turkey is one of those times and places.
Hunting from a ground blind with kids offers concealment for fidgety little bodies that can only seem to hold still for seconds at a time. The blind also serves as a “containment vessel” – allowing you to bring more snacks, beverages, clothes, games, and who knows what else in order to extend the hunt as much as possible. Hunting from a blind also allows you to teach kids safe hunting habits, as you’re able to sit right next to them during the hunt and walk them through the experience. Most of all, a blind gives you a place to hang out with kids and talk nonsense all day. 🙂 Oh, and you may even get into some action with the turkeys. 🙂
Get Your Kids Out There
When we developed the Apex ground blind, we had kids in mind throughout the process. Kids are shorter and often have difficulty shooting out of the higher windows that most ground blinds have, especially for young hunters using a bow. This is one of the reasons we developed a window system that could be manipulated to into countless sizes, shapes, and locations. Having a window system that can be lowered below the hubs of the blind allows youth hunters to shoot from a natural position without trying to keep a shotgun blast or arrow from ripping through the wall of the blind. Shooting through our window system feels more natural and allows kids to focus on what to hit, rather than what not to hit. Our window system gives them the best opportunity for success. It is this opportunity for success that gets us out there, and being out there is what creates the memories.
To kick off the 2018 spring turkey season, we’ll be giving away a ground blind and a pair of turkey decoys from Dave Smith Decoys. Just as our blind gives you the best opportunity for success, so do these great decoys. Using realistic colors, textures, and detail, the quality of Dave Smith Decoys is quite amazing. We think a giveaway that includes our Apex ground blind with their Breeding Pair Turkey Combo is a perfect way to welcome in the spring turkey season and to help a lucky winner create some great
memories. We’d love for you to enter the giveaway as well – just go to www.huntxenekgiveaway.com and fill out the form. Good luck to all of you. Pursue success — so that you can create the meaningful memories along the way!