Family Traditions by Mark Gottwalt

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Rig'Em Right Blog

Growing up I was introduced to the sport of hunting at a very early age by my dad Jim.  What first started out as hunting pesky chipmunks and squirrels eventually led to pursuing pheasants, turkeys, deer, and elk with my dad. 

Having access to a piece of property that housed many different species of wildlife made for an enjoyable upbringing and fueled my passion for the outdoors. My dad and I quickly learned that you don’t need a large piece of property to generate a good hunting opportunity, all it takes is hard work and patience.

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Around 2010 a severe windstorm came through leveling many of the mature trees and we were left with a devastated property. My dad, who is not one to sit around, quickly had the damaged trees logged off and began rebuilding the wildlife habitat. The destructive windstorm had created an opening for an area to be planted. What seemed like a tragedy, ended up being a chance to not only make the property better, but gave my dad and I another project to work on together during the off-seasons. 

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Corn can not only provide food, but also cover for deer, turkeys, and small game.

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We began transitioning from tree stands to blinds which better fit our hunting approach due to the new layout of the property. Brushing in blinds and disappearing into the surroundings is my dad’s specialty and he learned the art of concealment when serving in Vietnam.

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The hours and days brushing, tilling, planting, and irrigating the ground is rewarding to see what we have created. Hunting and being in the woods is a big part of my life and it’s a blessing to be able to spend that time with my dad. I’ve been lucky enough to harvest some great animals, but I believe my success is a result of what my dad has taught me and it also helps when he sends me to the best spots. The time spent in the field, the memories made, and the stories shared will never be forgotten.

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