September 30: Grace Gadient

For the last few years I've been trying to expose my children to the excitement of hunting, hoping that they might enjoy it as much as I do. Along with that I have been trying to establish more security cover and permanent structure to try and hold more deer on my farm. It has been an endeavor that has included the entire family. Well it is with great pleasure and excitement that we are seeing the fruits of our labors. Several shooters started showing up on the reconyx cameras this year and it made waiting for the opener harder then normal. Something I tried this season to include my girls was to gather all the pictures of bucks I had on the farm and let them decide the names we would use to identify them, it really gave them a fun opportunity to get more involved.

Fast forward to late september and we are smack dab in the middle of Iowa's youth season. My second daughter, Grace, was starting things off this year and she was anxious to harvest her first deer. We sat out a few times but things were pretty uneventful except for the occasional doe and fawn. That all changed on October 1st, we finally got the right wind to sit the pond set, and even though temps were higher then normal we felt confident in being there. The first two hours went by without anything other than some mosquitoes buzzing us but that all changed when the sun started to set. Below us a doe and two bucks worked in to the pond for a drink and I grabbed the camera to lay it all down. Moments later the two bucks started to spar and chase each other around for a few moments, all this time I filmed and whispered to Grace what was happening while she tried to keep her nerves under control. After their rambunctious behavior concluded all three deer made their way to our set, first the doe, then the smaller 1 yr. old buck, then a heavy 2 yr. old the girls named "prince", because of his high up swept rack that they said looked like a crown.

All three cautiously made their way up the trail and although I was filming I snuck a couple of peeks at Grace to see if she was ready. It was encouraging to see her, gun shouldered, rested on the shooting rail, ready to make the perfect shot. And make the perfect shot she did, just as "price" cleared some branches and walked in to the opening in front of us.

It is so exciting to see one of your children accomplish something and enjoy it as much as you do, I hope I get to share this many times over with all my children, it truly is special. What a great way to kick off my season, now it's on to the next daughter, did I mention I have four, God help me!