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Thread: My son's first hunt

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default My son's first hunt

    The sudden weightlessness of the rear of the wheeler was a total surprise, as if the ground had just simply fell away out from under it. It was at that point that the cold reality of what was happening hit me with all the weight of a locomotive. I screamed out in desperation for my son to jump clear but it was hopeless. The water rushed up to meet us and then he was gone, vanished like a match dropped into a pool at night.


    Well after being overseas for the last 8 months there was a lot of build up to my oldest and I finally spending some time together out in the woods. He hasn’t been out moose hunting and I decided last Friday that we would try and make a quick run that evening. Well after starting to load things up I realized that I didn’t have a really decent way to haul a rifle on the wheeler while riding double so I decided to make a quick run to Sportsmans to pick up a gun boot. Not surprisingly that took longer than expected and we ended up postponing it till the next day provided he helped me do some cleaning on the garage.

    This morning I was awaken by my son who was very intent on getting to work on the garage first thing. Well I was less enthusiastic about it but finally gave in and we got down to work. Several hours later the garage was at least starting to resemble a garage again and more importantly we had found my tool set which was the catalyst for the whole cleaning requirement since I needed it to install the new gun boot! So we called the garage clean enough and I went to work and w/ his assistance we soon had the scabbard installed and my A-bolt riding nice and protected in its new case.

    I called one of my cousins to see if he was ready to go. Well to my disappointment his wife wasn’t too thrilled about him hanging out w/ me since I had just recently recovered from the swine flu so it was starting to look like a solo run… Well I thought about it and then mentioned to my wife that we have two wheelers and would it be cool if I invited my other cousin and let him use hers. She agreed and my other cousin jumped at the chance swine flu or not! I quickly loaded up a spare sweatshirt for the boy and a thicker jacket for me into my oversized dry bag I use to keep gear in on the wheeler then took off over to pick up my cousin so we could get rolling.

    A short time later we were all ready and had all kissed our assorted wives or mothers goodbye and we were off for an evening of chasing moose!! We hit the trail head and found it more crowded than normal but we were still optimistic. At the very least we would have some fun just being out! There was another group of 4 heading out the same time as us and to our amazement the ran across a cow within the first 100’ of the trail and we were able to watch as they were filled their tag. Pretty cool deal for them, and my boy was able to get to see a moose taken w/ in the first 10 minutes of his first ever moose hunt.

    We motored on back leaving the 4 hunters to their work and after that the ride in was pretty uneventful. My son was doing very well riding on the back of my wheeler and I was really glad to see that the speed-rack mounted backrest gave him some added support and kept him comfortably seated the entire time. The full face helmet he was wearing became had a regular habit of bouncing off my back as we would roll over the roots and hummocks in the trail. I couldn’t help but rib him about building up some neck muscles to control that giant helmet head!

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default part 2

    We reached our destination and dismounted, my son grinning like a opossum eating saw briars. His enthusiasm was simply bubbling over! It reminded my fondly of my own early hunts w/ my dad over 2 decades earlier. We worked our way along a ridge and he did well in the woods even repressing his usually chatty demeanor. We finally approached a nice clearing where my other cousin had seen a large bull a week or so earlier but lost the light before he could complete his stalk. We set up and did some light calling and a lot of listening. We heard some coyotes howling off in the distance and the soft cooing of an owl as darkness began to settle in. Then we heard a loud rustling from a nearby stand of trees. We all stared intently hoping to see the stark white palms of a large bull materialize like some sort of apparition in the failing light. To our surprise the source of the noise was a very large quill pig! Though not the 60” bull we hoped for my son was still thrilled to see a fat porky and enjoyed watching it shimmy clumsily up a big birch tree. We did hear the sound of another animal, quite possibly our big bull at the far end of the clearing but he stuck fast to some thick alders and wouldn’t expose himself despite my best come hither cow calls.

    Finally we relented to the darkness and the realization that even Karl Zeiss can’t turn night into day forever. We worked our way back sans flashlights to preserve our night vision, a process that had my son more than a little nervous he admitted latter. In fact as I pointed out the shape of the arctic cat just barely discernable in the eerie darkness D looked up and me and said “ooh I see it, man I thought we were lost wondering around in the dark like that!”. “You gotta trust your old man better than that!” I retorted. A couple big chugs of Gatorade and we were packed and ready for the ride out, well mostly ready I meant to change over to my heavier jacket as the temp was falling pretty quick. Oh well I would just rely on the hand warmers since it was such a pain to remove all of the bungees and associated straps to get back into the dry bag.

    Finally with a very tired boy were on our way, headed back to the truck and the other ½ of his cheese burger! It was getting very dark but the trail other than being muddy isn’t really much of a challenge. We were making pretty good time and I knew that one of the little bridges over the creek would be coming up fairly soon. There was a large mud hole up ahead but there was a good higher line on the right side so I picked it and never thought twice. What I failed to realize was just how close we actually were to that bridge and more importantly the proximity of the creek to that portion of the trail.

    Then it happened!! The right side of the trail where I was skirting the mud pit set me on a collision course w/ a cut bank obscured in shadow and grass. The front tire just missed the trap but as my right rear went past the little bit of earth that was between us and the abyss failed under the weight and the machine lurched out into space. I screamed out in desperation for my son to jump clear but it was hopeless. The water rushed up to meet us and then he was gone like a match dropped into a stream at night. The full weight of the machine landed atop us, I watched in horror as my son disappeared into the black water completely submerged and being crushed under the weight of the 750 pound machine.

    I was pinned as well only my head was above the frigid water as it swept around us. I was screaming to my cousin to come and help us while trying to get my legs free. I managed to pull one loose an got it up on the foot board so I could begin to push up on the big cat. I made enough space for my other foot to come free and I jammed it into the rack and tried to leg press the thing up off of my son who was fighting a losing battle to hold his breath as the water totally filled his helmet and the weight of the atv pressed down on him.


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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Finale

    My cousin had witnessed the whole thing almost in disbelief. He said it was amazing how it just suddenly tipped over and he saw all four wheels in the air and then the whole thing disappeared! He reacted quickly barely coming to a complete stop before leaping from the other wheeler. He threw himself of the bank of the creek not knowing what he was jumping into. He landed in the thigh deep water and rushed to our aid. He saw me immediately but didn’t see D. I was calling out to him and had finally gotten situated to where I could get some real power into my legs I heaved up on the rig and I spotted my boy. I reached out and tugged on him and my cousin threw his weight into the machine to give the extra room as he crawled out from under it. As his head broke the surface the water poured out of his helmet cascading around him and my cousin was able to yank him the rest of the way free and get him to the bank and out of the water. I was able to slide the rest of the way out from under the big 700 and finally get myself out of the freezing water.

    I scurried up the bank to hug my boy and check to see if he was truly ok. I got the helmet off of him and asked him if anything was hurting, he responded “no, but my hunting jacket is all wet!” . That brought a smile to my face as I finally realized that somehow he had been trapped under water pinned by a big bore atv and had escaped totally uninjured!

    Well time for me and the cousin to jump back down the bank and start figuring out how to right the pig of a wheeler and get it back on terra firma! It took about 15 minutes of “on the count of 3’s” before we finally were able to get it back on its wheels then another 5 before we got it to fire up. Luckily there was a smaller bank just a few feet up the creek and we were able to ghost it up while one person pushed from the back and the other pulled from the front and operated the throttle.

    Back on the trail and everything pointed in the right direction I was thankful that I had left that warmer jacket in dry bag!! I got it and the boys sweatshirt both out and striped him down. I let him dry off w/ a game bag then dressed him in his sweatshirt and my jacket, lucky for me my Westcomb pants and Sitka ascent jacket both dry pretty fast so I only had to shiver most of the ride back out. Thankfully most of the ride the rest of the way out was pretty uneventful, my son started feeling better after a bit and got my attention to point out the big dipper then we spotted a second quill pig which ran down the trail in front of us for a moment before crashing off into the brush.

    The drive home was somber. I went over many things, probably over analyzing the whole ordeal but honestly I almost lost my oldest son tonight and it would have been my fault! So I guess some overanalyzing is to be expected. There are so many things that contributed to the ultimate outcome. The gun boot I had to have probably gave him more room under the machine and kept some of the weight off of him, the same thing w/ the speedrack seat back I installed for him. The helmet that I made him wear, and most importantly asking my cousin to come along on the trip. I don’t know if I would have been able to get him out in time without him there.

    When we got back to the house mom was waiting on him, wanting to see that he truly was ok for herself. I had called her to let her know about our adventure on the way home using my cousins phone since mine was thoroughly water logged! I still had to drop my cousin back at his place but before I left my boy came and gave me a big hug and said “thanks for being there for me Dad!” I nearly lost it there but just gave him a monster hug and assured him I would always be there for him. I guess my “dad never cries” status is still intact with the kids.

    One day I will probably have to tell him that I finally broke on the drive home after dropping my cousin off while thinking about those simple heartfelt words, “thank you for being there dad!” I looked to the heavens and tears streaming down my face said simply “thank you for being there lord!”

  4. #4
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    Default

    I'm glad that you and your son made out o.k., Lujon. Crises, and even death, can pop up without warning, and keeping a cool head under that stress, as well as the coincidence of having someone on hand to help, can be the difference between tomorrow and no tomorrow.


    The crying part ain't a big thing. If anything, it tells your kids that you're not Superman, that you love them, and that everyone gets scared some times. And it makes it more o.k. for them to let you know how they feel as well.


    Sounds like a cause for some extra hugs for a few days... or more... at least.

  5. #5
    Member markopolo50's Avatar
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    Wow, LuJon, glad everyone is OK and only "wet" from the experience. Let those tears flow, we are only human you know. Happy your cousin was there and able to react under the life threatening situation. I can only imagine what it must have looked like to see that water flow from your son's helmet. Happy for all involved and thanks for sharing.

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    Great story. I am glad everything ended on a positive note. You never know when a crisis can happen and it sounds as though you were prepared and I am glad your son was wearing a helmet. There is nothing more special than to spend some quality time with our children in the woods. I am sure your son is ready to go back on another moose hunt.

  7. #7

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    Great story, glad no one got hurt.

  8. #8
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default whew!

    Good save!

    Now get out there and get a Moose.

  9. #9
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Glad it worked out, Jon. Sounds like it easily could have gone either way. Stories like this can be a great lesson to others.

  10. #10
    Member bigmtn's Avatar
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    Thumbs up keep up the adventures

    I have had many moments in the field with my daughters where I asked myself why I put them in the situations we ended up in. Whether it was their asthma attacks on a sheep hunt, concussion on a rock, bear charges, 5 days waiting for a plane, 20 plus miles hikes needing done in a day. The tears they shed being tired ,scared, or hurt as well as the tears I shed being proud or relieved have led them to be the self reliant confident young women they are becoming. Your son will respond to adversity the way he sees you react. Its not something they get from a tv show or video game. Best of luck.

  11. #11
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Jonathan, Thank the Lord it all worked out. Alaska plays rough sometimes and we have all been there. Dry it all out and get back out there. Welcome home and good luck.

    Steve

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default You just never know man

    Having been in a similar experience, this brought mine back to mind! Way to stay collected. Just don't do what I did after I got home the next day from my mishap, I sold the machine and trailer to pay off the loan! Somebody got a smoking deal for 500 arctic cat with two place trailer or about $5600! About a year old!

    Not very cool seeing your life pass by your eyes! Glad it all worked out and sounds like you have a very tough boy! With a good sense of humor too!

  13. #13
    Member Bearclaw67's Avatar
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    Glad to hear all went home safe, was expecting tragedy as I read this post.
    Paul

  14. #14

    Default Thank goodness

    it turned out like it did! I can only imagine the thoughts that ran through your head during that time. Glad you are all safe!

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    You never know whats gonna happen.


    Good luck on the Moose.
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  16. #16

    Thumbs up

    All's well that ended well. Good story now.

    Thank your lucky stars you didn't have a half of a moose strapped on. One thing you should think about and that is always have a knive or hatchet on your person. Never know when you gotta start cutting or chopping.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

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    Glad it turned out the way it did.

    Your Son will 'have that' in mind most likely the rest of his life.
    When 'we' experience/hear about lessons such as yours, its good for 'all'.

    Nothing like a Happy Ending !!

  18. #18
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    GREAT STORY.

    I'm looking forward to hunting with my son for the first time next year. He'll be 10.

    I can't imagine what you were feeling while pinned by the atv.

    steve

  19. #19

    Default I shed a tear...

    I almost didn't read the post due to losing my oldest son recently. Buried him on the 19th and i'm glad you didn't have that coming. I will say that my wife thought i was heartless due to not crying around them till I had to give a speach about my son during the funeral. You did a discriptive job on the story that did pull me in as i wonder about how my son drown. I was glad to read where your son responded. There aint a thing wrong with a man sobing but I'd like to think there is.

  20. #20
    Member Bearclaw67's Avatar
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    Grayling, So sorry for your loss my prayers to you and yours.
    Paul

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