Milne family: #huntingfamilyfriday

Our #huntingfamilyfriday interview today comes from Arlington, Vermont as we got a chance to get to know hunting mumma, Cahill (25 years) and her son Max (4years) a little better.  We have had the chance to admire Cahill's dedication to the outdoors - and raising her future hunter - via instagram and we are so proud to bring her story and thoughts to all of you today.

Who is in your hunting family?  My "hunting family" consists of me, Cahill (25 years old) and my four year old son, max. We live in a small town called Arlington in the state of vermont. Arlington is located in the southern part of the state surrounded by the green mountains. We live right on the battenkill, a well known river made famous by the Orvis fly fishing company.

When did you learn to hunt & fish?  I started turkey hunting about ten years ago and have been deer hunting for about five. I learned to fish as a young girl though and never feel more at home than on a river bank catching trout.

Max has been one with nature ever since he was born, spending his first summer in a back pack walking streams with me catching brook trout and roosting turkeys at night. He started shooting a recurve bow at two and a half and in the past year has joined me in the turkey woods and in a ground blind for deer season! He is a little guy with a big personality so we are going to hold off on the guns until he gets some more meat on his bones! 

Why is hunting & fishing important to your hunting family?  As a single mom, I have found nothing makes me prouder than being able to introduce max to hunting and fishing. When I cook fresh wild turkey that I harvested myself for dinner, and he can't get enough of it, I can't even describe the sense of pride it gives me. Providing for your family, while respecting the animal, to me is what hunting is about. I have a tremendous appreciation to nature for the animals I get to bring home and put on the table.

There is nothing better than waking up with the woods. I feel like I am in a different world. Tucked away from the craziness this world has become. And if I can get my son to appreciate it the same way, I will know I have done something right.

What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?  My favorite memory hunting has got to be my first longbeard. I had been turkey hunting for three entire years before I got one. I had learned so much. I was so impressed by the animals and their eyesight and how much skill it required. I had been on some exciting hunts and ended the last season calling in a bird for two whole hours without moving. I could not get the bird to come in to closer than sixty yards. Noon came and I had to stop calling. I went home, skunked for the third year in a row wondering if I'd ever get one! I practiced so hard that summer and fall and couldn't have been more excited for the following spring. Opening day 2010 I experienced the perfect hunt. Called in the most beautiful longbeard to fifteen yards. Leaving the woods with that bird over my shoulder was one of the proudest moments of my life. When you put in the time and work hard, the accomplishment feels so amazing. I had thought I was hooked before but once I got my first one I realized I was never going to stop turkey hunting. It is by far my favorite sport. 

We also spend a lot of time fishing. We are blessed with such beautiful rivers and streams surrounding us. I've caught some big trout that make men I know jealous! But even more fun is when we walk up the small streams and catch little brook trout on Panther martins. Some of my best memories are sunsets in the brooks. Small stream fishing is something I would recommend to anyone needing a stress reliever. There isn't much more relaxing than that in the summer time! Max learned to fish the small streams first so now when we catch big browns, he is absolutely blown away! I swear he thinks I'm the best fisherman in the world, I'm gonna let him believe it.. Until the day he outfishes me which I'm sure won't be long!

What lessons do you wish to preserve for the next generation of hunters and fishermen?  I think that I would like Max to learn the most are those that involve patience. I think it's the most important thing to know when hunting and fishing. That's my favorite part about archery. You really have to take the time to practice. So many people have gotten into this sport that think you're going to become a hunter overnight. Being patient and working at it though is so much more rewarding.

Patience is key in any aspect of life. Hunting will teach you that better than anything. Whether it be a long night on the river.. Thinking all your going home with is a whole bunch of mosquito bites and then you catch a monster at the last bit of light. You say to yourself all that time was worth it. And it always is. Those three years I spent turkey hunting without getting a bird, I didn't realize it until that opening morning were so worth it when I got to leave the woods saying, "Wow, what a longbeard."

What is the best tip for hunting or fishing?  I'd say the most important thing is to know your weapon. I never go into the woods to wound an animal.. You have to be very confident in your shooting abilities before you go into the woods. Practice makes perfect, whether it be a bow, a shotgun or a rifle, I cannot stress enough to shoot over and over again until you are confident you are going to make an ethical shot. I hope that while the sport is growing, that the ethics will grow along with it.  I hope that kids learn why we hunt and why our ancestors hunted and that because of that they learn to respect the trophy. Without respect, hunting is just killing.

I feel so blessed to be able to hunt some of the most beautiful animals. Eastern turkeys and whitetail deer.. There's really nothing better.

Cahill & Max:  thank you for giving us a look into your hunting family.  We feel lucky to know that there are hunting mummas & sons out there in the woods and on the streams together passing down the outdoor traditions and making memories.  You guys are awesome!