Growing up in a diehard hunting family I spent my fair share of time hunting with my Dad, brothers, uncles and cousins. I always thought it was the greatest thing in the world when I would finally get invited along with the rest of the guys on their Saturday morning hunting trips. As I got older my train of thought started switching. I finally thought of how cool it must have been for my dad to take me on those trips as well and I couldn't wait for the day my son would be able to accompany me. Well, me being the eager type was looking for any chance I could to get him out there with me and a few other family members and it didn't take long for me to find it.
I have hunted beagles with my uncle and his friend for many many years now. For the most part though the dogs have always been owned by them. Then, two years ago they sprung a surprise on my cousin and I. They asked us if we wanted to have their beagles! I was shocked! It turns out that our friend who was partners in the dogs was retiring to the mountains and neither he nor my uncle would be able to care for the dogs themselves. Since my cousin and I have always hunted with them we made the most sense to take them. Of course we agreed and my plan went into action.
My son loved those two dogs and would beg me all the time to go see them. Then one day I showed up at home with the smallest small game jacket and pair of chaps I could locate. He was a smile from ear to ear. After getting him dressed I told him "Well bud, you ready to go"? He had no idea I had a "hunt" already lined up so off we went. We got to my cousin's house early that morning where I had already lined up the rest of the crew. It would be my Uncle who originally owned the dogs, my cousin who now owned them with me, myself and one proud Grandpa.
He was so excited it wasn't even funny. We headed to the pen and proceeded to hook the dogs to their leads. I was very clear to him that these dogs may be little but he had to hold on with all his might because even though he outweighed them they were 10 times more excited than he was and they would drag him down the path quick! Sure enough as soon as I said "are you ready" and he responded yes he was face first doing a Pete Rose down the path. Luckily I was quick enough to snag an ankle before he hit the driveweay.
After the dogs were loaded it was off to the running grounds. He didn't let his previous encounter with the dogs on the leads phase him and he was right back in the saddle. Only this time he learned a little bit from his previous lesson and handled the dogs with ease.
The rest of the morning went as planned. He handled the dogs and beat the brush while we shared smiles and stories of other hunts and memories of when I was just a kid. It was definitely one of the coolest days I have had afield. There's nothing like making incredible new memories while reliving unforgetable old ones. I definitely realized it then that some of the best days you can spend in the field are the days when you leave your gun at home.