“Daddy, I Don’t Have Any Camo.”
That was my daughter’s excuse when I asked her if she wanted to go hunting with me. Of course, I knew that was really just an excuse. While my son was interested in hunting, my daughter decided it wasn’t for her.
I was ok with her decision. I was not going to force her to do something she didn’t want to do and I understood hunting isn’t for everyone. Yet she had never been out and I had a felling she would enjoy it a bit more that she knew. So, I decided to ask her one more time.
I had a perfect situation. A friend mentioned they had a coyote problem and asked if I wanted to come and try to shoot one or two. I saw it as a great opportunity to take my kids out for an easy hunt. Besides hunting, I also planned for some fun other activities for us to do as well.
Now, I understand that it is fairly crazy to take an eight-year-old and six-year-old out hunting, but I had a strategy for making this successful. Now I just had to execute the plan.
We packed up a sack dinner and got up into the mountains to the property at about 5:00 pm. I parked the truck and we quietly walked about 100 yards to an edge of a meadow.
I say, “quietly walked.” That may need a slight amendment. I found out that “quiet” means something different to a six and eight-year-old. Despite my repeated warnings to whisper, both children decided that a quiet talking was more appropriate. I continued to remind them, but it fell on deaf ears. I only hoped there was a deaf coyote out there as well.
We settled in a behind a small tree and I made a few quick calls on my cottontail call. The next five minutes consisted of me telling the kids to try and be still and to try to be quiet. I looked up just in time to see a coyote running away at about 100 yards. It had been working its way across the field and had obviously spotted us and taken off. While the opportunity was shot, at least we had seen something!
We took a little walk through the woods and spooked a bunny or two. My son and I determined that we would come back once rabbit season opened and see if we could get one or two. I knew the trip was already a success when my daughter informed me that hunting wasn’t all that bad. We had only hunted about 30 minutes, but I was thrilled to hear her small change of heart.
We then did some “fun” activities. We headed down to the pond to eat dinner and then took some time shooting arrows. Someone had given us a children’s traditional bow and a children’s compound bow. I made up a target with a rabbit on one side and a deer on the other, and I taught them how to shoot. I was surprised how much fun they had shooting those arrows. I set the target up at about 8 yards and let them go at it.
They had a blast!
I finally made them stop when I saw they were starting to get blisters on their fingers. My daughter told me that as she got older she would go archery hunting with me. Success once again!
Finally, it was getting close to sunset. One more time we drove up to the meadow to check for coyotes. This time I let the kids stay in the car and play the iPad. At this point they were happy to “keep a lookout” from the warm truck. I went back to the meadow and made a few calls again.
A moose appeared about 120 yards away across the meadow feeding in the grass. As I sat there, I watched the moose feed. I took my scope and zoomed it all the way in to see if I could determine if it was a bull or cow.
Suddenly the moose jumped and ran 10 yards or so. That caught my attention and I looked off to the left. A coyote was making a beeline for my location across the meadow at a full sprint. 70 yards away the coyote stopped and looked right at me. I pulled up my rifle and I couldn’t find the coyote in my view. I still had the scope zoomed all the way in! The coyote started working its way to the right to go downwind and I decided it was now or never.
I took the shoot.
At first it looked good. The coyote spun around four or five times like it had been hit and then took off back across the field. The last I saw it disappeared into the woods.
In hindsight, I make a couple mistakes. First, I should have taken the time to zoom my scope back out for a better shot. Then I should have waited for the coyote to stop so I could have a clean shot. Instead I took a shot while it was walking.
The kids heard the shot in the truck and saw the coyote take off across the field. I walked back to the truck and my excited son gave me two thumbs up. While he was disappointed when I told him I missed, they were excited that they saw something.
We finished up the evening and headed home. While I did not get a coyote, my kids both had a blast and asked the entire way home when we could go again. Once again, I was reminded that when hunting, success is not always dependent on getting an animal. I don’t know if I’ll get my daughter out any time soon again, but I know that this time we had a great time together! Maybe I’ll get her some camo.