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Uncle James
-- My oldest niece Briley, an eager 8-year old, had begged to go hunting with me for several years. After weeks of discussion and planning, the time finally arrived for her first trip. Still not comfortable enough with a rifle to hunt, she was excited to watch and learn all she could. Briley is no stranger to the outdoors; she won first place in the youth flounder division in the CCA STAR tournament in 2012, but thi...
 

Who Needs Fishing?
-- Let me preface this story by saying that my son Joseph is one of the best kids on the planet. Sure, I’m biased, but the kid has some amazing accomplishments under his belt, and he’s not even 13 yet. Joseph is an avid fisherman who ties his own flies (and sells them under the name Joe Hunter), and in 2013 alone caught a 7-pound largemouth from the Rappahannock, a 4-pound smallmouth from the Rapidan, a 10-pound sna...
 

Turkey for Two
-- I love it when a plan ... falls apart. It just makes it that much sweeter when you make a new plan, get busted twice and still manage to bloody up the tailgate. As planned, we started the morning on the ground in front of a long narrow food plot. We knew the sun was going to be highlighting us so we brushed in, settled down and waited for daybreak. Soon after first light, we heard the first gobble in the pines ...
 

A Prayer Answered
-- The Missouri archery deer season began like many others. I had seen several deer, but the best part was just spending quality time outdoors. Things took an interesting turn at the end of September when my daughter Allison asked me to take her bowhunting for our next fun day together. Allison is 8 years old, but her age isn’t an issue. She has been going two or three times each year during the firearms season sinc...
 

The 165-Inch Spike
-- Every time my daughter Alexis and I had been out hunting, she was determined that would be the time she would get a deer. She’d put in the work, helped build a box blind, and she’d been out there every chance she had regardless of weather. She was ready and hungry for her first deer. We’d planned to go hunting early Monday, Nov. 25 in 2013, but because of work, we were unable to go until later at 10 a.m. We suite...
 

Med School Hooky
-- During my first year at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2012, I made it a goal to get into the woods as much as possible. By the time I’d reached med school, I hadn’t drawn a bow since I was a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Madison. School prevented me from hunting as much as I would have liked, so I made it a priority. I skipped a day of October classes to extend a week...
 

First of Many
-- I’ve had a lot of firsts in the past eight months, so after I caught my first 20-pound king salmon, shot my first 8-point buck with a bow, took my first doe with a bow, and my first doe with a muzzleloader, naturally I expressed desire to shoot my first turkey. My husband Rick said, “It’s not easy. They have keen eyesight, and the slightest movement will scare them off.” I thought it sounded like fun. I knew how...
 

Follow In My Footsteps, Mom
-- “Follow in my footsteps, Mom.” This was one of the umpteen gazillion instructions I received from my 14-year-old son, Billy Horne, during my hunting inauguration, along with don’t sneeze, breathe, sniff, cough or basically exist for the next four hours. But he’d asked me to go, and the opportunity to spend time alone with him dwindles as he approaches manhood, so I nodded and promised to hold my breath the rest o...
 

Gene's Ridge
-- The starting place for my 2012 trophy deer is food plots, food plots and more food plots. We’ve been planting food plots for 5 years on our lease, which is almost 500 acres. Over time, the food plots have gotten bigger, and so have the deer. Racks haven’t gotten taller or wider, but they seem to have more mass. I believe we grew my 15-point trophy its entire life. I even got him on camera in September of 2011. I ...
 
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