Bear Hunt - Doaktown, New Brunswick
The tradition continues. In June of 2013, Heartwood Outdoors traveled to Doaktown, New Brunswick for a one week black bear hunt at Betts Kelly Lodge. Fifteen people went on this trip, with all nine hunters having an opportunity at a bear, and 8 hunters harvested bear. One with a shotgun, 2 with a muzzleloader, 5 with a compound bow, and 1 with a recurve bow. A great week was had by all in attendance. If you’re looking for a great black bear hunt with an outstanding outfitter, check out www.bettskellylodge.ca.
MD Youth Turkey Hunt
The Maryland youth turkey season has come and gone, but the memories will remain. This year Heartwood Outdoors held its first annual MD Youth Turkey Camp. The camp was held at the Heartwood Outdoor Outreach Center and it was a big success. Three young hunters from West Virginia were selected to attend this year’s camp. The boys and their fathers enjoyed three days of turkey calling demonstrations, turkey hunting clinics, turkey call making, shotgun patterning, skeet shooting, archery, fishing, and good ole campfire storytelling. The camaraderie and fellowship culminated on Saturday morning with the youth turkey hunt. All three boys had opportunities at birds, with two of the boys killing their first ever wild turkey.
FATHER-SON WHITETAIL HUNT
Tracy Groves of Heartwood Outdoors and Jim Lowman from Bass Pro Shops invited my 13 year old son and me to hunt whitetail in Northern Maryland the weekend after Christmas. My son had never shot a deer and that's what he really wanted for Christmas. We had been out a few times with Jim Lowman and although we had had a wonderful time, we hadn't seen anything. I had discussed the hunt with Tracy and explained that it was all about my son. While I would love to hunt as well, my real joy would be seeing my son harvest his first deer. I only hunted once with my father before he passed away. But it will always be one of the highlight memories I have of time with my Dad. We had a great time, though we harvested nothing. It was the time we shared in the outdoors that means so much to me and I wanted that for my son. My son and I discussed the hunt as well. And although he wanted a buck, he knew this late in the season it would be difficult at best to get anything. Nevertheless he was excited.
We drove out to Tracy's house a couple days before the hunt so my son could sight in the muzzle loader that Tracy was going to loan to him. He shot well and was very excited to use the new Traditions muzzle loader. The night before the hunt, we enjoyed some good fellowship and laughs with Jim, Tracy and his family.The morning of the hunt, we arrived before sunrise and settled into our ground blind. Tracy sat between my son and I, and Jim manned the camera behind me. The wind was in our favor and although the woods seemed alive with movement, silence can sometimes be deafening. Tracy knew this area well and explained what he thought the deer would do. Within thirty minutes, we saw a lone doe step into range. My heart started racing as Tracy coached my son to pick up the Traditions rifle. As my son was shaking, Tracy moved him into position and then moved him again. I said a brief prayer, only that he be successful. Just as my son was getting ready, Tracy said wait, buck, buck, buck, there's a buck coming in behind her! My son shifted, and tried to aim but there was a twig in his way. Tracy reached up and snapped the twig. When that twig snapped, it sounded like a tree had fallen in the woods! I was sure he spooked the deer.
Tracy told my son to take em when you have a shot. I looked over at my son; I saw images of him throughout his life; I remembered carrying him to the nursery minutes after he was born; his first steps, words, first day of school. I remembered watching him walk away as I left for Iraq; a dozen other memories flooded my mind. The emotions are hard to put into words. But now, this boy is lined up on a deer about to make his very first shot. I looked back at the deer just as the muzzle loader exploded and smoke filled the air. The deer fell immediately. And I said quietly. Thank you God. Everyone felt a rush of joy and excitement. My son's smile said everything! I was so proud and happy for him. It was a nice 12 inch spread four point buck. Later that evening, I had my opportunity. I missed a shot at about 70 yards on a nice doe. But the truth is I didn't care. It was all about my son today. I found it interesting that my son tried to reassure me and make me feel better about my missed chance. He didn't realize that it didn't matter to me.
Tracy says success is not about the size of the animal but the heart of the hunter. Even if we had not harvested anything, I would have called this hunt a success. My son and I have always been close, but I think this hunt brought us even closer. I believe sometimes things happen for a reason. Sometimes we cannot comprehend what the master has planned, but there is a reason. This time, we met Jim Lowman at Bass Pro and he in-turn introduced his to Tracy Groves. I'll never forget this day. It's not very often that anyone can say they observed when a boy becomes a man, but today, I saw the first glimpse of the man to be; one I am intensely proud of.
Jim & Tracy, thank you. From the depths of my heart, I thank you for an absolutely wonderful experience my son and I will never forget. God bless you both.
— TIMOTHY C. ALLEN