Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Hunting Buddy

Today's hunt just wasn't the same.

I sat in the blind and watched the squirrels scamper around. I listened to the ducks whoosh in behind me, land in the water, and proceed to do what ducks do. I waited in vain for deer or hogs to appear. Normally, I would have been loving the experience - I like to be outdoors and the actual hunt is secondary to that experience. However, this time was different. I was thinking about my new hunting buddy and I missed her not being there with me.

You see, Cassie hunted with me on Thursday and it was the best hunt of my life - even if we missed everything at which we shot.

Cassie hasn't hunted with me prior to Thursday and when I asked her if she was interested in going, I was pleasantly surprised that she said yes. Because it was her first hunt, I wanted everything to go smoothly - as often hunting can be hard work, in difficult conditions and I didn't want anything like that to turn her off.

First, I scheduled Thursday afternoon as our day. The forecast called for sunny and warm temps in the high 60's. Since she isn't really outfitted for being in the woods, this was of paramount concern. Secondly, I wanted her to have fun, so I tried to take a lot of the work out of the hunt - even if it meant it diminished the probability of us actually bagging any game. I also had to reset my expectations; that this hunt was about us having fun together and experiencing the outdoors, not about the harvest.

We started our day in the late morning. She indicated that she might like a rifle of her own for her birthday, so we took a drive to Gander Mountain in Sherman. They have a good selection of guns and we had already been to B&S Guns, Cabelas, and Bass Pro looking for a pink .22 LR. No one had one, so Gander Mtn. was our next attempt. They didn't have any in stock, but we definitely found what we were looking for, a Remington Model 527 .22LR in Pink Camo. She indicated that this was the gun she wanted, so we talked to the sales person about when their distributor would have them in stock. We'll have to wait a couple of weeks until we can order it, but they did have the same gun in black, so I bought it for me. I figured she could use it until she gets her own and I could use it whenever I needed a small caliber gun.

We then drove to the hunting area. The first order of business was to sight in the scope on the new gun. We spent about an hour adjusting the scope until we had good groups close to bulls eye. I knew we weren't 100% sighted in, but the sun was starting its decline, so we grabbed our gear and headed for the blind; me with both the .22 and my .270 Win and her with her pellet gun. We sat and I could tell that she was terribly excited. We spoke in whispered tones about the set up. I informed her that I'd seen a lot of squirrels at the hunt area and expected to see them this afternoon, as well. However, there were none to be seen. In fact, the woods were surprisingly quiet. I explained that we likely spooked everything away with our practice shooting and that if we were quiet and still, they would probably come back. So, we waited in relative quiet.

We ended up seeing a several squirrels. We took shots at them, but missed on each one. On most occasions, we squeezed of more than one shot, but were unable to connect. Clearly, the scope still needs a little bit more adjustment. I could tell she started getting a little bored, and I suggested we wait for the feeder to go off, then wait a little after that, and if we weren't seeing anything we could go.

As the feeder went off at 5:00pm, we heard something behind us. I thought it might be a deer off in the distance, but Cassie thought it right behind the blind. She told me her heart started racing. She was right as to location, but it wasn't a deer, it was a crazy grey squirrel. Eventually, it started climbing a tree to our left and I shot at it twice, but missed both times.

We decided to call it a day, but she kept talking about how she felt when she thought a deer was right outside our blind. I know exactly how she felt, but I also know that it pales in comparison to how I felt having her by my side.

It will be the same way I feel when we go back tomorrow, my knew hunting partner by my side.


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