Getting up early to chat on the radio, every Saturday morning for the last year, hasn’t always been easy. By Tuesday of each week I am trying my best to come up with good content, reaching out to my network through phone calls, emails and social media for a new story, a new event, something that will catch some attention. By Thursday, I am touching base with Sep and Kent and letting them know what I will be chatting about and then hoping to squeeze in some quiet time to sit down and blog about what I’ve decided my segment will focus on. There is no paycheck associated with a job like this. The only thing motivating me is a small hope. A hope that my passion for the outdoors will help to stir a flame in someone else. A hope that I can help to inspire others to get outdoors and enjoy nature! Whether it be hunting, fishing, or photography…a lady, a man, or a child. If I can do my part to encourage one person each week, that is reward enough to give up the glorious fictional wanderlust of sleeping in on a Saturday morning!
So how do you gauge something like this? Believe me it can be tough. There are some basic measurable standards of content analytics and trackers that I have embedded in my blog and each week I login to see what exactly my followers are clicking on and how traffic has increased over the last year. For sure these analytics push me along, but sometimes I kinda long for a more tangible pat on the back; something just a little more solid than data and computer jumble.
This week, I got that pat, in the form of a simple email that was forwarded along to me, with a few attachments that are shown below. “Please share with Regina, I thought she might like this.” I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to know that someone wanted to share their personal hunting story with me. That after they experienced such a wonderful family hunt together, the person they thought to share it with was me! To top it off, Rick is a pretty recognizable name in our California Hunting & Fishing Industry and he wanted to share his story with me first!
Such a very cool feeling to know that my work is spreading and to hear these stories of families enjoying the outdoors together! This is my inspiration for sure! I am pleased to share this story with all of you. Thank you Rick for sharing it with me! It means more than you will ever know! This is what Living Long in the Outdoors is all about!
For the last several years we head to our home in Idaho to hunt deer and elk. This year was no different, other than due to a weeklong school break our 17-year-old granddaughter Bailey was able to join us. Bailey has always loved to fish and has been asking if she could go hunting. As usual, we all put in for the drawing and this year included Bailey. As luck would have it Bailey drew a Idaho Antelope tag. The season and her school break all worked out and just so happened to be during the two-week general deer season. We arrived at our house and as soon as we unpacked we took Bailey out to do a little shooting. She was using a Remington 260 mountain rifle. She did great, I knew she was good out to 300 yards. The next day we were hunting. A good friend has a ranch that we knew there were over 100 Antelope using his fields. We went to check it out and found the Antelope were located where there was no way to get a shot under 400 yards. We decided to go look at some other spots on public land and return later if needed. I stopped at the base over a huge draw and spent some time glassing. This draw is where I harvested a big mule deer last year that scored 199. I have a hard time not stopping to look for another like him. As I was glassing this draw my wife Tresa said, “there is a buck Antelope”. We all checked him out and I ranged him at just under 800 yards. Bailey and I got out of the truck and walked down the hill into a small ditch and then started following it back up the hill towards the buck. To my surprise as we were going up towards him he was coming down towards us. We got to a point where we couldn’t go much further up the hill. I peeked over the top of the ditch and ranged him at 288 yards. Bailey moved up and took her shot. The buck went about 20 yards and went down and then right back up and on a dead run. We tracked him and shortly found him walking about 2000 yards away. As we started gaining on him he started running again. I can’t explain the feeling during this event. I went from the most excited proud grandfather to a sick feeling in minutes. I was asking myself if I rushed her, should have tried to get closer and what could I have done different all the while keeping these feelings inside. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to stop looking for the buck regardless how long it took. It took several hours but thanks to my wife and a couple friends Bailey hung her tag on her first Antelope. We took care of the buck and got it to the locker all in the first day of hunting.
The next day we took it easy. I had a over the counter deer tags so the three of us took a ride and looked at some spots and started planning a deer hunt for the next day. I knew Bailey was now excited about hunting more so we stopped and bought her a general deer tag as well. We had come up with two different plans for the next day but struggled on which on to choose. It reminded me of the days as a fishing guide trying to decide where to start fishing the next day. We got up early and started out the door still undecided on were we were going. Bailey made the choice to go to this spot where we knew there were a lot of deer moving between were they were feeding and bedding. We pulled up to the spot where we planned to park, I shut the truck off and Bailey said there is a deer over there looking at us. After looking closer there were about a dozen deer working their way up the hill and one was a small buck. Bailey and myself got out of the truck and she got in position in case a bigger buck was following. She decided she was going to pass on the little guy. We no sooner got in position and I looked behind us and there were another half a dozen deer with two of them being larger bucks. Bailey turned and got ready. I asked her if she was going to take one of these, she responded, “That buck only has one horn”. She was right one of these was missing a horn, however, the other was a nice forked horn. I told her it was up to her to take the shot if that’s the one she wanted. After the events, I was going to make sure she felt good and I wasn’t rushing her. She said I want that buck but the does are in the way. I told her as soon as she had a good clean shot go ahead and take it. This buck was 138 yards away. It seemed like hours before he finally walked out away from the others. As I started to say, take the shot if your ready. I was quickly interrupted with “I’m taking the shot” and the bullet was on its way. I watch the buck jump 10’ in the air, run less that 20 yards and pile up. I can tell you the time it took for the buck to take those few steps also seemed like a lifetime. I was praying that the shot was good and the buck would drop. When that buck hit the ground there are not word to explain my excitement. In fact, I lost track of where he was down and Bailey had to guide us to him. Her shot was as perfect as you could make. Once again, we took care of this buck and took it to the locker. I was thinking, I was going to go take a nap and relax the rest of the day until Bailey said, lets go fishing so off to the river we went where she finished the day with some nice rainbows. Bailey will fly home in a couple days and then I will hunt. This trip has been the one for the books. It’s also been the most rewarding and enjoyable trip I can remember. We spent some quality time with our oldest granddaughter. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. We have five more grandchildren that I hope will want to experience the same, as they get older. There is no amount of money or material things that can replace this experience. Ironically, I received a text message asking if I wanted to come back a week early and go to work, guess what my answer was?
Congratulations to Bailey!! What an awesome first outing!