OUTDOORS WITH KEITH WARREN
Week ending February 9, 2001
It is funny how time flies. It seems like yesterday my daughter Matti was born. It was in the middle of deer season. I couldn't help but remember so many little things we had done together since her birth 5 years ago. Each of them has helped make our relationship what it is today.
The closing week of deer season found Matti joining me for our first actual deer hunt together. We had done lots of sitting in stands observing deer before, but this time we were hunting. Our objective was to take a mature doe in hopes to help even our doe to buck ratio.
Matti was bubbling with excitement and it made me happy. This "special occasion" called for her to dress up in her best outfit. Her Mossy Oak camouflage matched mine. But she had to wear her pink cowboy boots and pink belt because this was a "special occasion."
It is important to make every outdoor adventure with your children special. Remember, it is supposed to be fun. Regardless if a deer is taken, the outing will be a success if everyone has fun. We had started out making her hunting season a very special one by custom painting a pink hunting stool for her. This was a special project we enjoyed doing together and she was eager to hunt from her pink stool. Matti wanted a pink and purple deer blind, but we stopped with the stool.
While I carried my Savage .270 to the stand, Matti carried her lever action pop gun. Although the rifle was just a toy, my little Matti tried her best to act like it was real. She even practiced gun safety by handling her rifle in a safe manner. She enjoyed shouldering her toy and playing like it was real.
The weather couldn't have been more pleasant. For the first hour she sat pretty still, occupying most of the time by playing with her pop gun and looking through my binoculars. The deer were no where to be found.
I am a serious hunter. While we had been enjoying our time together, I was still hunting, trying to keep Matti quiet and still. But she was getting tired of the wait. I knew it when she crawled in my lap and laid her head against my shoulder.
I pulled a red lollipop out of my pocket and she smiled as I unwrapped it and gave it to her. Watching, her quietly enjoy the candy, I tried to imagine what was going through her mind.
The sun began to drop behind the trees and it started to get cold. Matti got even closer to me. This time getting under my jacket trying to keep warm. I glanced up and a lone doe was feeding about 100 yards away. Calmly, I set Matti on her stool, then I took aim and whispered "cover your ears."
With her small little puffy hands now over her ears, I made sure she was focused on the doe. Then with a well placed shot the deer fell instantly to the ground. "I didn't even hear it Daddy! That was a good shot. Let's go see her" Matti said. When we reached the deer, Matti was speechless. For her that is rare.
"What's wrong?" I asked hoping that having her along was the right thing to do. She was still quiet and I began to worry. She has never been at a loss for words, but now she was different. I thought she might be thinking what we did was wrong and that scared me.
Then she said "she's beautiful Daddy. Mommy will be so proud of us." With a big hug she said "I love you. Thanks for taking me. It was fun!"
People say that doing things like this with kids is giving them memories they'll never forget. I hope so. I know that I'll never forget that 90 minute deer hunt. This was a great hunting season for me and my family. Lots of memories.
Driving home Matti asked me to tell her a story. I told her the time my Daddy took me on my first deer hunt. Like I mentioned at the beginning, time flies. It has been over 40 years and I remember that hunt like it happened yesterday.
The outdoors provides everyone the opportunity to have fun. Make sure and not get so serious. When you take the fun out of it, you might as well quit. Make a resolution this year to introduce as many people as you can, both young and old, into the outdoors. You'll be glad you did.
Keith Warren is the host of Fishing & Outdoor Adventures along with Hunting & Outdoor Adventures, both of which broadcast nationwide! Catch Fishing & Outdoor Adventures from January through June and Hunting & Outdoor Adventures July - December on Fox Sports Net at 5:30 am Thursday's in all time zones. We also air on Fox Sports Southwest at 5:30 am Mondays. Check our website for more cable times. You can write to Keith Warren at PO Box 310379, New Braunfels, TX 78131-0379 or visit online at www.fishingandoutdoor.com.
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