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Partner for life

January 1, 2017
Nick Buseman - Grundy County Conservation Operation Supervisor , Reinbeck Courier

Some of you may recall the article I wrote back in February of 2009; it was titled "As Simple as a Squirrel." That article was the story of how harvesting my first squirrel ignited a flame in me - the love of the outdoors. It also was the start of an outdoorsman partnership with my father.

The new chapter has officially started in my household which I hope kindles the same love and passion for the outdoors that it did in me. Like my father I hope I have hunting and fishing partner for life.

My son Clay is 6 years old and already wants to be hunting and fishing with me whenever he can. This year I was able to take him along bow hunting a few times and also calling coyotes. But this past Sunday was the turning point in his hunting experiences. With several practice sessions this summer, I felt he was ready to try his luck at harvesting a bunny. Santa hadn't arrived with his air rifle pellet gun yet so I gave in and let him use my .22 rifle.

Article Photos

Nick’s son Clay, with his prize.
Photo submitted

A snowy Sunday afternoon at an abandon farm acreage was the scene of this magical moment. Pulling into the farm I noticed a bunny sleeping in some weeds, after pointing it out to Clay the game was on. I loaded the Ruger 10-22 equipped with a scope. Coaching him through the process and watching the bullet hit its mark was the highlight of my hunting career. I have been fortunate enough over the years to harvest a few large deer and turkeys, but that moment towers over them like they were no big deal. The excitement in his eyes and the proud way he picked him up - it was amazing. He couldn't wait to show off his prize and tell the story. Those are all things I remember from my first squirrel.

I pray that this love and excitement stays with him forever. Looking back at the hunting, trapping and fishing memories I have had with my father, these are hopes I have for me with my son. There is no better and cleaner fun than sharing the outdoors with a youngster. Experiencing the outdoors thorough their eyes is like living your childhood over again. Watching his face light up while watching deer from the tree stand just a few yards away. Or snuggling, the two of us, in a ground blind made for one as geese set their wings and descend into your lap. These are amazing moments to share.

I am slowly recognizing my draw to harvesting a huge buck or dropping a pair of Canadian geese is evolving into a desire of passing it on to my son and other future hunters. I believe that as an outdoorsman it is our number one duty to pass it on. Without them to continue it will be gone. My hope is for every youngster to experience something in the outdoors. Let them decide if it is what they enjoy.



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