Opening Day

Opening day doesn’t mean much to me as a bowhunter, but to our family it means much more. The kids are busy, thus they don’t have the time to dedicate to mastering the bow and arrow right now. Drew has vowed that he will kill another deer with a bow someday (he shot one back in 2009 when he was 9) but in the meantime, both he and Jordan (our daughter) love to hunt with a gun.

Jordan in 2007 and Andrew in 2009

They have been very successful over the years, and we have the chance to write another chapter in the story starting this weekend. Iowa’s first shotgun season opens Saturday and Drew will be the first hunter to sit in the blinds.

We will focus 100 percent on evening hunts (we'll skip the morning hunt), and we'll equally focus on hunting over food. There is some gun-hunting pressure in our neighborhood, but most all of my neighbors are bowhunters and allow only limited gun hunting. For that reason, the deer won’t be too stirred up and should come to the food sources with the same comfort they show right now. (They are hitting the food hard at this time).

We will see deer, and both the kids have doe tags as well as a buck tag, so we should also kill some deer. I will tell you all about it next week.

I am going to leave you with a quick tip about youth hunting. First, I never let the kids shoot the muzzleloader except during the first three years they hunted. During that time we focused on practicing with the .22 to avoid any recoil shyness. They always wore earmuffs to cut down on flinching. To further make the experience pleasant, I loaded the .50-caliber muzzleloaders with just a single pellet of 777 and a 250-grain sabot bullet. This setup produces almost no recoil yet generates enough energy to cleanly kill deer out to 100 yards. It is a really sweet load for youth hunters.

I hope you are still hunting this time of year. We are just now getting into a part of the season that I honestly believe can be better than the rut—at least more consistent than the rut. Under the right conditions, the post-rut is a lot of fun. Check back next week and I’ll tell you all about it.

Good luck, and be sure to check out this week's video, "Flyers."

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