First Hunt

Green Wasabi

Flip Squad
Apr 6, 2008
Olympia, WA
24 North River OS
This story started a year ago...

Summer of last year my step-son, Brian, moved back to the state with his new family. Unemployed, living below the poverty line, and without a lot of options he set out to Alaska to fish commercially. He left behind his Honduran wife and 2 kids - newborn Mathew and 8 year old Jafet. He was gone for nearly 6 months.

During his absence my wife and I were the support system and I needed to be the temporary male figure for Jafet. I don't have kids of my own, so I was not quite sure how to interact with an 8 year old. I'm old school in many ways and sitting at home playing video games just wasn't my idea of making an impression with this young'un. So, I dragged him out fishing and hunting and found that this kid was fairly rough and rugged, willing to try anything, and a quick learner. He especially liked waterfowl hunting.

Jafet took to the outdoor activities and in order to really get the full experience of the hunt, I put him in the hunter's education course last winter. So for a few weeks every Tuesday I made the trek from Olympia, where I lived, to Shelton where they lived and where the class was held.

We studied together and when it was all said and done, Jafet passed the course with flying colors. He had just turned 9 and he was stoked. My wife and I gave him his first set of decoys as a reward for completing the course successfully. Over the winter, I had also been slowly getting Jafet geared up with fundamental waterfowl gear; waders, jackets, etc. Man, it was tough to find kid sizes for hunting apparel!

By early spring Brian had returned from Alaska. He was pleased with what his son had accomplished and from generally being a good kid while he was gone, he bought Jafet his first shotgun; a 20 ga. Benelli Nova youth model pump shotgun. The kid was estatic and was even teasing me for not having a Benelli! Kids!

Needless to say, off to the range we go to teach him how to shoot. Brian, not a stranger to firearms and hunting, worked with Jafet on the fundamentals and gun maintenance while we both worked with him out on the range. Most of all, we made it fun for him as much as possible and to take his mind off the "fear" of shooting.

Yesterday was D-day. The 2010 waterfowl youth hunt weekend had arrived. For this task, I enlisted the help of 19 year old Clint, one of my regular hunting partner along with his dad. Clint had scouted out a spot for us and the reports were good that birds are around. Brian, prepped Jafet's gun and I picked up the kid Friday evening.

The anticipation was palpable. Nobody could sleep, well except for Clint. Teenagers! It was going to be a wake-up at an ungodly hour and a few hours drive to where we want to be. I packed Jafet's lunch sack with lots of caffeine and sugar. By the time I was done prepping our gear, there was not enough time to grab any sleep. I bucked up and stayed up for the next hour before waking up the boys. Jafet, of course, slept during the dirve while Clint and I talked strategy and brushed up on our duck calling.

By 5 o'clock yesterday morning we were sitting in the blind watching over our decoys and listening intently at the ducks in the area. Clint worked the birds with his calls while I coached Jafet on the game at hand; SAFETY, selecting a target, identiying the bird, tracking, firing, and ammo at the ready.

It was not an all out shoot. Jafet is a small kid in general and holding the shotgun steady and ready was a monumental task for him. Shooting at live birds is different from shooting clays and he soon found out that he need to go through the steps much quicker than he had been. Racking the gun quickly after a shot for a second shot was almost impossible. Clints' and my patience was definitely being tested. But, we stayed the course and kept it fun and kept Jafet motivated.

Finally it happened. 3 pintails lazily swings in front of our blind to land amongst the decoys. Jafet takes aim, picks his bird and BOOM! The closest bird gets dumped from the sky stone cold. Hallelujah! After many many opportunities, Jafet is then and there a hunter. The look on his face was of disbelief, shock and awe, and elation.

He took 2 more birds, another pintail and a teal, and was content with his accomplishment before we all finally succumbed to exhaustion. We left the area without a trace but left with a memory that is priceless.


He has had many firsts this year. His first king, tuna, cabezon, lingcod, rockfish, and now ducks. Being "grandpa" isn't as bad as it sounds afterall.

-GW out
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10%er during Salmon Season
Jun 29, 2009
Mount Vernon Washington
Sounds like your doing an excellent job as a role model. Glad to see more people getting involved with the youth and instilling good hunting and fishing skills and getting them excited about the outdoors.
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Feb 17, 2009
That grin is a mile wide. Thanks for the story.
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Glad Wrap

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Jul 21, 2009
Tacoma, WA
boat whore
sounds like a great trip, this is what everyone should be teaching there kids.
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Chasin' Tail

~Jumpers!!~ <*)))><
Aug 10, 2008
Lacey WA
17' Thor-Built Sled, 27' NorthRiver OS
nice write up Dex!

Sounds like Jafet is shooting a little better than you did on your first duck hunt!!!:waglleybooty:
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The Peddler

Living vicariously through others.
May 28, 2008
Olympia, WA
2400 SeaSport Explorer - "Permanent Waves"
We don't need no steenking veeedeo games. Well done G'pa Dex, that kid's going to be a stud outdoorsman if you've got anything to do with it.
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May 21, 2009
Renton, WA
Erik Sweet
20' Woodlridge, Catch 27
Its is great. I absolutely loved the story!!! Nice work, and totally agree way to keep the kids outside, and away from the xbox!!

Great work, keep it up.
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Hewes OP

Night Crawlers & Powerbait Baby!!
Apr 2, 2010
Arlington, WA
Hewes OceanPro "TIN-ASS-CITY" & Starcraft 1648 Mod V for the ducks
Excellent stoy. To me this is what life is all about.
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