Saturday morning came bright and beautiful and the boys were really excited about going on their first "real" hunting trip. It had been decided the night before that the Oldest would go with his dad on the morning hunt and then the Youngest would go on the afternoon hunt.
We got up just after daylight, cooked a big breakfast and soon after it was time for the Oldest and his dad to head into the woods. They were taking Buddy the Beagle and it was his first hunt too. I wasn't sure how this was going to work out but I knew they'd have fun.
The Oldest was so excited and was grinning from ear to ear as they walked into the woods.
The Youngest and I hung around camp, cleaning up the breakfast dishes and shooting BB guns at soda can targets. About an hour later, the Oldest and the Island King came walking back into the clearing and I could tell from the grins on their faces that they'd gotten something.
As soon as he saw me the Oldest said "Mom, you are NOT going to believe what just happened! - Look what we got!"
There, hanging from the Island King's hand was a cottontail rabbit. They'd gone after squirrel and I thought they'd get a few but I wasn't expecting a rabbit. Apparently the Island King wasn't expecting one either because he looked really surprised.
The Oldest was bouncing up and down saying "Tell her the story, tell her what happened" so we sat down by the fire and the Island King told the story.
They'd been walking through the woods looking for squirrels for a while when they came into a clearing. There were several squirrel's nests in the trees around the clearing and the Oldest wanted to sit and watch the nests, hoping that maybe they'd see a squirrel coming or going. They sat down to rest on a fallen log and were sitting, talking about the woods and hunting when Buddy jumped up and ran out into the clearing. He kept running around in circles, barking at the top of his lungs and as he ran his circle pattern got tighter and tighter and he was circling closer and closer to where the boys were sitting. The Island King and the Oldest were watching the dog and all of a sudden the dog flushed a rabbit out of the bush and right across the path where the boys were sitting. The Island King had his shotgun across his lap and the Oldest said that his Dad said "Rabbit!" and then picked up the shotgun and shot the rabbit as it ran past them.
He hit it dead on and the Oldest said that when the rabbit dropped, he and his dad sat there for a minute and then the Island King said "Did you see that?"
I don't know who was more surprised - the Oldest or the Island King LOL
They grabbed the rabbit and came back to camp and both of them were really excited. The Island King has never shot a rabbit before (he says they're too fast and he never sees them in time) and the Oldest was on top of the world. Exciting stuff for a first hunting trip.
This next picture is a little graphic so if you're squeamish you may want to scroll past it.
When the Island King shot him he hit him right in the stomach and completely gutted him. All he had to do to clean him was skin him. Pretty amazing shot.
Both the Oldest and the Island King were on top of the world and the Oldest repeated the story to me a million times. I told the Island King later that the boy is spoiled now because he's going to expect to get something every time he goes hunting and that doesn't always happen. This is going to be a hard act to follow.
And the beagle has now sealed his fate as a mighty hunting dog.
We hung around camp for the rest of the afternoon and then it was time to take the Youngest on the afternoon hunt.
He was really excited and tromped off into the woods with high hopes. Unfortunately they never saw anything and came home empty handed. They did have fun and the Youngest enjoyed being alone in the woods with his dad. They talked about hunting, hiking and everything under the sun. He didn't seem disappointed that they didn't catch anything - he just loved participating.
That evening the Island King fried the rabbit and it was really good. Not gamy or tough at all.
Now I'm wanting more. It was so good and I'd love to have some rabbit stew.
We only saw one more rabbit over the weekend but it was the exact same color as our little dog, Jake, and the Island King said that he could only see the back half of the rabbit as it ran along and for a minute he wasn't sure if it was a rabbit or if it was Jake and not wanting to shoot Jake he looked around to make sure Jake was behind him and by then the rabbit was gone. Oh well, better safe than sorry.