I consider myself truly blessed to have grown up in Northern Michigan. With its rich soil, breath taking lakes, and acres of land filled with wildlife I had no trouble finding adventure as a kid. Growing up with a dad as an avid hunter it didn't take me long to get the hunting itch. I can remember sitting on a stump in the middle of the woods as the blistery, winter wind tore at my face. Patiently I would wait for my chance to take down a "big boy". I'll never forget my first harvest and the time I got to spend with my dad in the outdoors. Hunting not only became something I enjoyed doing, it became part of my very core and I was determined to pass down that same heritage to my children.
About a year ago I had the opportunity to take my daughter Jada on a Mountain goat
hunt in British Columbia. Jada has been hunting with me since she was five and at
fourteen she harvested her first animal. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree and
hunting quickly became nothing short of an obsession for her! Every hunting exertion
that we have ever been on only prepared us for this hunt. With the rugged terrain and a
12 hour chase, it became one of the most physically and mentally exhausting hunts I
have ever done. We woke up early that morning and started out on our trek. Jada
spotted her goat early on and that started the chase. We were able to do most of the
stalking on horseback and I can't even begin to describe the level of beauty we saw;
from the rushing rivers created from the melting glaciers, to the majestic pines that had
been there for thousands of years it was unlike anything I'd ever seen. As we continued
our ascend up the mountain the vastness of land that we were able to see took my
breath away. I felt truly blessed to be there and have that experience with my daughter.
As dusk was creeping in we finally got within 150 yards of our target and with unbelievable precision Jada took down a record book Mountain Goat. As a father watching all the years of training and teaching reach such a climactic point and have such an amazing return is a moment I don't think I will ever forget. Now, the real challenge set in! After we recovered our harvest we started the descent. With the sun quickly setting and the face of the mountain being so rugged every step needed to be carefully calculated; one wrong step and it could've ended in fatality. As we retrieved our horses and headed back towards camp Jada started feeling nauseous and light headed, I was afraid dehydration was setting in, we definitely weren't expecting to be out as long as we were. Finally, at one in the morning, our camp came into view; I don't think we had ever been so excited to see our home base! We shared an amazing meal prepared by our guide and with weary legs crawled into bed.
As beautiful and exhilarating as that trip was, nothing compares to the memories I was able to create by supporting my daughter in something she loves. It was something neither of us will forget and I'm so grateful for that opportunity. I strongly encourage you to get your kids outdoors and interested in hunting. There are so many programs out there that are designed to mentor youth in an effort to get them excited in the outdoors. Lets take advantage of the beautiful landscape that we have here in Northern Michigan and teach our kids to conserve the land and enjoy one of life's most precious gifts, building relationships.
Check out some of the gear we relied on during the hunt: