I had come in from hunting without a deer (again) and all the kids wanted to go that afternoon. I had been putting it off but the weather was beautiful and The Corner Stand was perfect to see some deer close up.
The Corner is a metal 2-man ladder stand on the edge of a large cornfield. You can see 400 yards across the field and I knew that we would at least see some deer if we went.
Now there are certain things you need to be aware of and to take care of if you take a herd of kids hunting. (in kids, a herd is more than one) A quick word of advice is not to take them all at one time or not on your first outing anyway.
The first thing is to make everyone go to the bathroom twice before you leave for your stand. Check! I am so smart that I instinctively knew how to handle this.
The second is that their attention span is very short, so you have to see deer quick or have something for them to do while you wait. It is also best to leave for your stand an hour later than you normally do. Nintendo, puzzles, pencil, paper. Check!
Third is that after 30 minutes they are going to be really hungry. Cookies, candy bars, water. Check!
Fourth, you have to go over this talking stuff and have hand signals if you spot a deer. You have to practice your whispering and they all need field glasses to look around and keep busy. Check!
I had everything under control. In fact, to make sure we did not get cold, I brought a sleeping bag that we could spread across the 4 of us and stay snug as a bug in a rug. Easy as pie!
We made it to the Corner Stand, climbed up and all got ready for the afternoon hunt.
I figured by 4PM we would start seeing deer.
Sarah, Spencer and Erin searched the field with their binoculars while I relaxed. Every bird got looked at, every cracking branch behind us got investigated and every noise had to be a big deer coming.
Thirty minutes later they were hungry, so cookies, water and candy bars were eaten. 15 minutes later they were bored so I tried to get them interested in the paper and puzzles. Erin had to go to the bathroom. They all wanted to hold the rifle and look through the scope. One set of field glasses dropped to the ground. They started tugging at the sleeping bag and rearranging themselves as the sun fell. Lots of whispering and "SHHHHH"s. A fight broke out, loud voices telling each other to move over, me whispering to be them to be quiet, they wanted to leave, there weren’t any deer and I always took them to a bad spot. Another set of field glasses falls, paper and pencils fall, Spencer has to go to the bathroom too. Another fight breaks out.
I get them quiet and relax while smoking a cigarette. (lots of comments on how i was scaring the deer away). Another round of food, another small squabble breaks out.
I break it up. A minute later I smell smoke! I look down and the damn sleeping bag is on fire! The water bottle falls to the ground. Flames were coming up as I tried to get it out and imagined us all burning to death in the top of a tree.
Screams, laughter and it’s your fault for smoking as I spit and beat at the fire to get it out. Whispers, then loud voices of indignation that I have ruined their hunt with my smoking.
Whuump, Whuump, Whuump, Crash!
A boot falls to the ground.
It is now five minutes to 4 and they all have to go to the bathroom. No, they can’t wait anymore and there are no deer anyway. We climb down and get on the 4-wheeler.
They like that but make sure to tell everyone at camp how I almost burned them up and ruined their hunt.
My first adventure with taking them all hunting is funny now. It has slowly improved and Spencer and Sarah have taken their deer. Erin is next.
This is for Matt at Bright Idea Outdoors with his Kids and Hunting Series. By the way, it is a true story.