Friday, December 26, 2008


I have no idea how many birds I’ve shot in my life. When I was a youngster I thought I’d always keep a count, but that ended 15 or more years ago. What I know is that the number is insignificant.

I love to hunt, but more than my passion for waterfowling is my passion for teaching people to enjoy this bit of my life. As we were out on the river today I recounted with my hunting partner just how many people I’d been with when they had their first successful hunt on the river. I remembered the excitement that each one showed with the first goose that fell from the sky.
Today I hunted with a guy I coached in high school football just a few years ago. He tagged along with our hunting parties a few times, and last year purchased his own Remington 870 with Christmas money. But aside from a day of shooting trap and maybe a grouse or two that crossed his path, Mikey hadn’t had a chance at the first goose.

But today it all changed. With more geese on our stretch of the Yellowstone than I’ve seen in my life we got into some great shooting. The birds came willingly and after a few missed opportunities on both of our parts, Mikey dropped his first Canada goose. The bird pitched into us and gave as that full front shot that we all love to have. Mikey converted the shot and was soon celebrating his first success of many to come.

And on the way home he said the same thing that all those other first time goose thumpers have told me in the past. . .and it’s that statement that makes the number I shoot completely insignificant. After talking about the shot, the weather, and everything else associated with the hunt, he turned and said, "Coach, I’m hooked on this."

And in taking all these guys on their first hunts I’ve created for myself a lifetime of great hunting partners.

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