The Circle of Life for a Hunter
By Joel Carvell BWB Pro Staff, Registered Maine Guide
Back in the beginning of April, I sat at the Big Woods Bucks booth with Chris Dalti. It was the last day of the Maine Sportsman Show in Augusta. Chris said, " Hey Carvell, as a BWB Pro-Staffer, we would like to have you write an article about hunting or something about the outdoors. I'm used to talking about my experiences but I haven't had the chance to put many of them down on paper.
Well, on my 3 1/2 hour ride home, I was trying to think of a good topic to write about. The further I drove, the more I thought about it, what got me started with hunting? Why do I love it so much? Immediately, my grandfather came to mind.
My grandfather was the one who first introduced me to hunting at an early age. I went fishing a lot with my father, but we didn't do much hunting together. I remember the day, my grandfather and I, headed to a local gun store to purchase a 20 guage shotgun to hunt grouse with. I had turned 10 years old in early September and was legal to hunt that fall. I was so proud to have my own gun to use. It wasn't anything fancy, but to me it was priceless.
A couple weeks later, I started hunting partridge for the first time. At first, I was shooting many birds but later on I started missing quite a few of them. At one point, I was ready to quit hunting all together because I was so frustrated. Gramp kept coaching me, telling me to take my time and everything would be OK. It wasn't long before I got better and didn't miss as many. I was even spotting more birds than gramp was.
As time passed by and gramp got older, things started to change. I was the one doing all the driving and letting him have the first chance at limiting out. He would miss a bird but I would tell him to take his time and everything would be OK. We didn't get as many birds. I didn't care because I remembered when the roles were reversed . The last time I took him partridge hunting, we both shot our limit. It was a bitter sweet day because I could tell from his health, this might be my final chance to hunt with him.
He died the following September, about 2 weeks before opening day of the 2001 season.
Fast forward about 11 years and my son Jacob turned 10 years old in June. He talked about hunting all summer long, occasionally hinting about what he would be using for a gun . I didn't have to think very long when I came to the conclusion, it was time to pass my 30 year old shotgun to him. Jake has been doing very well. He misses on occasion but it doesn't seem to bother him like it did me. He is turning out to be a
great hunter. My daughter Katie turned 10 years old last year, and is going to be a great hunter also. The fun part to watch is when Jacob coaches Katie if she misses a bird. I have a lot of great memories with the kids already and I have my grandfather to thank for it.
If you get a chance to take a kid hunting, please do but don't forget your elders. Even if they aren't related to you, they might not have a child or grandchild to take them for an outdoor adventure.... Joel