Did we get "lucky" last time? Is 9 still too young?
In 2007, when my son Pat Jr. took his first shot and killed his first big game animal with his bow, a rush of relief came over me. My son Patrick did it perfect. But what if it hadn't? What if his first shot was terrible and ended in a long, discouraging trail? What if he had lost the animal? This thought ran through my mind two years ago and I have the same thoughts now with my younger son, Matthew. Matt is a born predator. The chipmunks in our rural CT home call him the "executioner." He is single-focused on hunting and shoots a bow extremely well. So these all helped to convince me that he was mentally ready. But chipmunks and cowbirds are far different than a wild boar. At his impressionable age, a good, positive experience can go a long way toward introducing him to a lifetime of outdoor experiences. A negative experience can do the opposite. During our prep, we discussed wounding several times. They understood their responsibilities. They will be taking a life, and that means they needed to be ready and proficient. They took it very seriously and so do I. There was no fooling around. Practice was fun but always productive. After months of training his time is here.
Family Friendly Equipment
Like our last family bowhut in '05, Bowtech was absolutely terrific working with the kids. I had met with Margaret Knupp, Bowtech and Diamond's marketing manager, and we discussed this hunt. She had several suggestions for us and one of them was Diamond's new "Edge" which provides for easy draw length adjustment, a hard hitting bow in a little package, and the ability to easily upgrade the limbs when Matt was ready to step up to higher poundage. As soon as the bow arrived he started practicing and became exceptional with it in no time flat. For a little guy, he worked himself up to the respectable weight of 40lbs and along with his 24" Easton ICS Junior arrow and a Muzzy 90gr 4-blade head, he was shooting just about 180fps. The arrow weight was a bit light, but I was confident he had the K/E to shoot a medium sized hog. While Matthew was convinced he needed to shoot one of Shiloh's famous 300lb tuskers, I knew that wasn't happening.
For a bow sight, we went with Summit's new Hot Dot sight. My son Matt had met Will Woller during a recent hunting show. We had dinner at a chinese buffet and Will nicknamed Matt "Sugar Tang" after a fortune inside a fortune-cookie. Matt really liked Will and when it came time to pick out a sight Will graciously sent "Sugar Tang" along with my son Pat Jr. a Hot Dot sight. They thought the sight was cool, and I liked the fact that it cured them of tilting their bows. We had both sights set up very simple. A single red dot set at 12 yards.
Muzzy, who has always been family-friendly, sent my sons their favorite broadheads; Muzzy 90 grain 4-blades. I liked these heads because of their exceptional penetration abilities and the additional cutting surface of 4 razor sharp blades. They have a lower profile than the newer MX-3 and MX-4 heads which I like, and they are not quite as heavy as the 3-blade 125's that Julie prefers.
To wrap up the gear ensemble, we used Realtree camo in both Realtree green HD and the new AP pattern.