Category Archives: General Tales

Success Misses Something, Sets Course for New Traditions

The setting was magical and paid off countless dreams my imagination summoned for the last several months.

I was in my favorite tree on the west side of the Mississippi. The wind was ideal and delivered what this day’s forecast had predicted over the previous five days. The calendar corresponded to

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The author with his 2016 Midwestern Whitetail Success.

those supreme days of November that eons of history have shown to be premium for having a shot at a buck-of-a-lifetime.

And I did.

It was an amazing feeling – euphoric in every way. Through the hours of jubilation that followed, though, I was quick to realize that something was missing. I knew it immediately, and I’d be lying if I didn’t forget for a moment that this great tale would miss an important piece that all others of its kind had held over the last two-plus decades of bowhunting.

Immediately following a moment like this, I have a small checklist of folks to communicate with to follow along with a fruitful hunt’s conclusion. My dad was always position No. 1 on that list. On this successful day, one of the most memorable and enjoyable of my hunting career, he was not there.

He passed away nearly three years ago, but him following along via phone calls or text messages when I connected with a big buck was among some of the best parts of the journey. No matter which state I was hunting.

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Another view of the beautiful deer.

I think it was fun for him too. He often offered advice or positive reinforcement from afar, doing his part to feel like he was alongside me the way he was all those years tracking deer on our farm in Western New York.

I wiped away a few small tears selfishly wishing I could call him.

I knew I couldn’t reach him, but prayed he was following from afar this time too.

Don’t get me wrong. Being able to connect on a majestic Midwestern whitetail remains one of the best feelings a hunter could have. This time was no different.

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A magical day, only one thing was missing from making it even better.

I celebrated success with some of the dearest friends a deer dude could ask for – both in person and by phone. It was just missing some of the individual tradition that had for so long accompanied the joy.

Like all traditions, this one must change too. For me, I welcomed the updated version of celebrating with my own kids, who are still too young to hunt, but know the passion the outdoors has sowed in my soul. I look forward to their successes afield someday. Then, I hope to become part of their small checklist too.

Maybe even position No. 1!


Call Me Maybe – Alaskan Style!

With the exception of those who may have spent all of 2012 living under a boulder, you’re probably well familiar with the slew of “Call Me Maybe” cover videos that are circulating the digital world.

Some of the most famous include the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, the Harvard baseball team, Sesame Street and even Jimmy Fallon (who at least was joined by the original artist, Carly Rae Jepson, of Canada, for his rendition).

Well, there’s finally one to make hunters proud. And leave it to those wild and crazy folks in Healy Lake, Alaska to bring it to us.

It’s worth checking out, with the fair warning that you’ll likely not get the song out of your head the entire day. That is an issue if you’re a middle-aged gent who runs the risk of getting odd looks from co-workers and wives alike. If you’re a single woman, you should be fine.

Sadly, while videos of its kind have generated more than 1 million views from around the globe, the recently uploaded Alaskan Hunter version is up to a shade over 8,000 on popular sharing site YouTube. Give it time.


Harrison’s First Duck!

Youth Waterfowl Days are some of my favorites. Nothing is more enjoyable than seeing the excitement of the outdoors through the eyes of a kid.

As much as I enjoy it now, I cannot wait to take my own kids in a few years.

North Carolina added a youth day this season, identifying both Dec. 10 and Feb. 4 as days where only an accompanied youth – ages 15 or under – get to do all the shooting at ducks and other legal fowl.

Last weekend, I was able to join as a special videographer as Harrison Shell, 9, harvested his first duck – a beautiful drake wood duck. Harrison’s dad, Kenneth, spends a lot of time helping fuel the young hunter’s drive for the outdoors. It’s great to see – both that Harrison has a tremendous passion at such a young age, and that he has a dad who is willing to help him enjoy it.

With that, I give you a video episode to follow the action from the hunt.


Waiting on The Waiting Game

AHT Contributor, Greg Johnston Reports From the Stand:

The trail cameras prove they’re there, but this week I failed to lay eyes on any of the mature bucks that visited my Moultree cams throughout the summer and fall. The calendar tells us it’s getting to be that time of year, but the deer haven’t yet cooperated. That will soon change.

A doe feeds on corn Saturday morning.

I expect activity to increase this coming weekend and really get rocking the week of Nov. 7th.

My hunts this week were fairly uneventful, although I saw plenty of does and yearlings. The most action I saw was last Thursday morning when a 1.5-year-old 8-point bumped several does past my stand.

With a week and a half of vacation time coming up this week and next, I’m confident that I can get on some mature deer. I’ll certainly be trying. I’ve got my Dad in the field along with another hunting buddy, so hopefully between the three of us we’ll get our hands wrapped around some bone at some point during the next few weeks.

Stay tuned.