I have been trying to steer Sarah Kate toward fishing, rather than hunting.
We don’t belong to a hunting club, so we don’t have a lot of opportunities to go, and deer hunting isn’t catch and release like fishing is. If we don’t want to eat fish, we don’t keep them. Easy. Hunting isn’t like that…you shoot it, you better be ready to eat it.
When she was three and a half and could not walk well yet, I took her dove hunting. We saw a dead water moccasin, shot doves and got dirty. By dirty, I mean I had other dads telling me how much trouble I would be in with mom because I had to clean her with acetone to get the dirt off. But she had a blast, and I did, too.
Fast forward to 2013 and we are back to she might want to hunt and not fish. Nate-Nate is up for whatever…no problem. He’s all boy. Did I mention it was raining?
We arrived at my friend TM’s house and scoped out where we might be able to sit. We drove down the road to a spot that would be less work for Sarah Kate to walk to. Nate-Nate didn’t care how far we walked, nor what direction. We set up our chairs on the edge of a soybean crop next to a corn field that had already been harvested. Nate-Nate was in hog heaven.
Sarah Kate sat obediently in her chair to wait. Did I mention it was raining? Non-stop, although not hard. We sat through a couple hours of rain waiting patiently for a dove to fly within range. The first one did, I shot once, then my gun jammed with the cheap shells and no second shot. Curses (silently, of course)! We kept waiting. Nate-Nate was unfazed. He had mud and that was all he needed.
We finally shot one dove and Sarah Kate was keen to go fetch it with me. I was proud. We trudged through mud with pink Converse and camouflage to our dove. We picked it up gently and returned to our chairs. We talked about it being happy in heaven and that we would eat it. Nathan had been uninterested in anything other than mud thus far, so Sarah Kate showed it to him in the gentlest form.
He promptly grabbed it by the head and slung it into waist deep soybeans.
Nearly tears. So, Daddy waded out into the soy beans after our lone bird and found it, returning it to its loving keeper, rather than Nate-Nate, who was still all about the mud. One person across the field texted me, “He has got to be dirty, I saw him laying in the dirt”. I replied, “You should see him in person, I think he is making mud angels”.
After a short while, we returned to TM’s house, and I got the same sort of “You are going to be in trouble” speech from the wives who didn’t know better: I had brought dry clothes and Andi was out of town. One water hose and one hamburger later, I had two dry kids who had spent the day with me, without a TV, who passed out on the way home. I was satisfied, even though in numbers terms it might have been a failure.