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January 1: Kyle McClellan

Kyle’s dedication to deer hunting is surpassed only by his dedication to family, which is what made this New Year’s Day hunt so special.

If we’re all honest about it, hunting takes us away from our families a little more than we’d like. That’s why Kyle works so hard to involve his wife and kids in the year-round aspects of his management work. They know it takes more than time in the stand to harvest a mature buck.

This season, Kyle had logged 32 hunts by the time he killed this deer on his Illinois farm. The plan was to take the gang up for an afternoon sit in the Muddy blind to shoot a doe with his PSE Carbon Air. Bundled in their Nomad gear, the whole McClellan team (four plus a camera guy) climbed into the blind in the single digits temps of this New Year’s afternoon.

In the 3:00 o’clock hour, does started piling out into the field to browse on the BioLogic Maximum and Clover Plus.  Around 4:00 pm, he spotted a good buck at 120 yards on a direct path to the blind. On his way in to Kyle’s position, the buck got distracted by some does that pulled him into the timber, but ultimately led him back and within 30 yards of the McClellan family.

Kyle double checked the yardage on his Leupold range finder and came to full draw, hovering his 30 yard pin on the buck’s vitals as the deer stood slightly quartering towards him. The shot hit a little back, though the Rage Chisel Tip still deployed through one lung and liver. The initial tracking job led to a bloody bed, so Kyle backed out overnight to go back in and recover his buck in the morning.

It had been a long season, but Kyle’s commitment to both family and hunting led to a beautiful merging of the two…including his son’s first exposure to harvesting a deer. Hunting should enrich the lives of our families, not detract from it. Kyle’s New Year’s Day hunt proved that he’s doing it right.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.