When you are three years old you get to go on your first hunting trip with Daddy. In 2012 Autumn went with me for the first time. Now it was Cedar's turn. We practiced the night before - "Daddy, I'm going to be this quiet." (long silent pause). Like Autumn's first trip, the day dawned windy and rainy. After a hearty pancake breakfast we loaded up and headed for the woods. Although Cedar has wanted to go hunting with me for a while ("Daddy, I want to go hunting with you so I don't have to miss you."), it was hard to leave mom and Autumn. Once in the truck though, with lollipop in hand, she was into it. Cedar turned out to be an excellent partner. She is a good hiker, managing all terrain, save a few larger puddles and logs that I carried her over. She was also very quiet when she was supposed to be and kept a sharp look out for deer. The first couple spots turned up nothing from our calling sessions. We would try a spot, get back in the truck, continue snackfest and then try another spot. At the third spot I blew on the call while watching ahead. From behind me Cedar whispered, "oh a deer." I knew from the way she said it that she had spotted a deer. Yes, Cedar spotted it before me. Awesome. A doe was sneaking in to check out the calls. I told Cedar I was going to shoot it. She covered her ears and I stood up and shot the deer standing on the other side of the brush. The heavy rain made for a little tension as it quickly washed away any blood trail. I loaded Cedar in the kid carrier and we commenced searching the woods for our deer. I was regaled with such wisdom as "Dad, I think that deer found a good place to hide from us." and "Dad, you killed it, but you didn't kill it." Then we found it, very close to where I had last seen it, it had just snuck into some thick bushes to expire. By now the rain was pouring in sheets, but Cedar was a trooper and we got the deer gutted and drug back to the road. Two successful first hunting trips for both daughters. It won't be long before they are doing the shooting themselves.
Congratulations to my hunting partner Scott Luber on his ram this year. This ram completes Scott's goal to take a ram from all seven mountain ranges in Alaska. All by hiking in from the road. To our knowledge, Scott is just the second person ever to accomplish this. You can read all about the hunt and see some more pics at our Proving Trail Adventures site.