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October 8: Jessica Ware, Jordan Gizdic

All I can say about this past weekend is I’m blessed with family and friends! I cannot describe how much fun Jessica and I had during youth season. We were asked to come share camp with great friend and fellow Drury Team Member Joe Gizdic at his Outfitting Service “Tall Tine Outfitters” www.talltineoutfitters.net in Greene County, Illinois.
Joe’s daughter Jordan and my daughter Jessica went through hunter’s safety course together when they were 8 years old. They had only seen each other once since then so when Joe mentioned getting them together for youth season we jumped at the chance.

Jessica and I arrived at Joes lodge on Saturday the 9th and he said that he had a blind set up for us on a luscious Biologic Maximum food plot. We were excited. We passed on a doe last year and we weren’t going to let one get by us this year. She had decided to shoot the first doe she saw or an older mature buck! The mature bucks weren’t going to move much in 89 degree heat, so we figured a doe would be a great prize. Later that evening we arrived at the food plot and got into the blind Joe had set up for us. The Biologic Maximum was up to my knees. I knew we were in for a good night. We weren’t there but 30 minutes and Jessi saw 2 does coming. One got a little spooky on us but the second bigger doe only looked at the blind and stood broadside at about 30 yards. Jessi practiced earlier at Joes camp at 50 yards with her TC Contender Muzzleloader and put 2 shots in the kill zone so I knew this was the shot to take. I grabbed the camera and told her I was on the doe and to shoot whenever she was ready. It didn’t take long! Boom! She said, “Dad, I think I got her…all I want to do is scream right now, I’m so excited!” I can’t explain how happy a father can be for his daughter when you see the excitement on their face close up. There aren’t many things better in life!

Joe has a guy in camp that we call “Tracker John”. (John Engelken www.bloodtrackingdogs.com ) He is in the deer tracking business and brings his Bloodhound dogs with him every year to stay in west central Illinois during most of the deer season. This guy is not just a normal deer tracking dude! He is the real deal! He trains his dogs on actual blood tracking on a daily basis and it is an awesome experience just to watch them do their thing. John had told us that if we shoot a deer he would like to work his dogs on the trail and that is just what we did. We called John after Jessi shot her doe. John knew right where we were and met us by the food plot. Jessica had never seen John and his bloodhounds work so we took his dog Jessi for my daughter Jessi. She loved seeing the dog get right on the scent and go right to the deer. The big doe only went 60 yards. Jessica made a great shot! Watching the bloodhound work was magical!

The next day the girls played all day riding atvs and having a great time looking for frogs! I wish I still had it in me to go looking for frogs, but I guess when you turn 40 the frog hunting just isn’t as fun as the deer hunting! Anyway, it was Jordan’s turn to go hunting. Jordan had passed on a button buck the first night. Jessi and I prayed for her to be successful and our prayers were answered the last 15 minutes of shooting light when a big doe came out and Jordan 12 ringed her! Both the girls and Joe went with John and his dogs to track her deer as well. They said it was one of the easiest tracking jobs you will ever see. The girls were so excited that they both shot a deer. To cap things off, earlier that day Joes step son Brett shot his first ever buck with his bow. We all got to watch the dogs work on that tracking job as well.

Wow, what a weekend. I can’t tell you how proud Joe and I are of our 10 year old daughters. I personally wasn’t allowed to hunt until I was 12 years old and I struggled with the decision 2 years ago to let Jessica hunt at 8 years old. We went together to hunter’s safety course. She was a very mature 8 year old and I think deer hunting is a little different than duck hunting and swinging a gun around etc.. I decided to let her go hunting with me right there with her and it is a decision I do NOT regret. She is hooked on this deer hunting! She shares the passion with me and I hope my second daughter Elle will do the same. She is only 7 now but loves going to sit in the blind with me while I hunt. It is just hard to explain all the good that comes out of taking kids hunting. If you haven’t done it, you ought to give it a try. It will make you a better person yourself!

Tom Ware