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Passing Down the Tradition

PhotoBy Stacey Swader

-- As a little kid, my dad, Mark Scena, taught me the ins and outs of hunting. He took me on hunting trips and scouting missions, even as young as eight years old. I'm sure that he would have done it earlier, but he was in the Army and could only find time when Uncle Sam allowed him. 

We lived on a farm for a few years and then the Army moved us several times. The best move would have been to Colorado. Those deer, elk and big horn sheep are everywhere. We would just go driving to see what was around and find a herd of elk, or big horned sheep jumping rocks on the river ledges. 

"Keep your eyes open," he would always tell me.

Ever since my dad was young, he has always been into hunting. He used his rifle for many years to get those big bucks, placing their antlers on the outside of our house. I remember sitting on the edge of our steps and when mom and I heard the shot, we knew he would be on the walkie-talkie within minutes. We'd get into the truck and head off to a designated area where he would be with his "trophy."

Dad has since retired from the Army and definitely finds time for his love of hunting. He has become a pretty good expert in archery, going to archery events and practicing for hours in the yard. He has used some hand-me-down bows in the past and has since graduated to a Mathews Bow. He makes his own products and modifies originals to be more user-friendly. 

During 2000, my dad got his largest buck ever. Dad was extremely proud and had the deer mounted. It still hangs in the living room today. He has sincerely come to appreciate the wildlife and the beauty that Mother Nature creates.

It wasn't until several years ago that, I believe, he really began to appreciate the sport. My parents built a log cabin on some Missouri acreage, and he planted a food plot just to watch the deer graze. Of course, the binoculars were out and photos were taken by the trail camera in the tree. For those few years, he watched as the bucks' antlers grew larger and larger.

Since then, Dad has gone archery hunting every year and just waits for the perfect deer and the perfect shot. Some years he will get one and other years, he just watches and waits. He has introduced my husband and son to the joys of bowhunting. He says that it's the challenge now that brings him to the sport.

My son helps Grandpa set the practice targets, retrieve the arrows, and watch the hunting shows on the weekends. My husband has learned a lot from my dad, however, he won't be able to use that bow this year as he heads back overseas for another deployment (my husband is Army as well) right before hunting season. 

My dad is the greatest person and his love for the outdoors has always been a motivation in our lives. With his respect for wildlife and bowhunting, I believe that he will continue to teach for many years to come. Thanks, Dad!

Stacey Swader
Wakefield, Kansas

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