I grew up in a town of less than 400 people in Northwestern Minnesota. Needless to say, there wasn’t a ton to do. From a young age I discovered the enjoyment that just being outside has to offer. Squirrel hunting with my pellet gun, searching for sheds, or just walking through our woods, I spent my time outdoors.
Hunting isn’t something that has been in my family for generations. Before I was born my father, a pastor, moved our family from Dallas, Texas to Lake Bronson, Minnesota, a town of about 150 people. He quickly realized that hunting here was more than something a few people enjoyed. For him to connect with the men in his church he needed to do what they loved; hunt. Melroe Gunderson, a man I am truly honored to have known, offered him a spot in his hunting party. Three decades later he still hunts with those same men.
My passion for hunting started with my families yearly trips to deer camp on the last day of the season. I remember being seven years old and seeing the deer they’d taken, hearing the stories told, and wanting nothing more than to be a part of this. At age 9, he started to bring me with. Not to hunt but I didn’t care…In all the hours I spent sitting in the cold I never saw my dad so much as raise his rifle. But those hours I wouldn’t trade for anything. Just me and dad doing “man stuff”.
I took my first deer at age 14. I watched through my scope as a spike buck sparred with a nice eight pointer. I was in awe. So much so that I forgot to shoot. The eight jumped back into the woods and disappeared. The spike became my first deer. I was officially a deer hunter.
My first duck hunt also came when I was 14. Armed with a single-shot 20 gauge on the Minnesota Youth Waterfowl day I was limited out by 7:30…and hooked.
My passion for hunting has continued to grow every year. Now, I hunt anything and everything my budget will allow. I am greatly blessed to have a wife who understands my obsession and puts up with it. She knows that, come fall, my schedule revolves around hunting and living five hours from the farm, this means I’m gone. She has even started hunting with me. I’m proud to admit she’s a better shot than I am! By the end of the first day she’d ever shot a rifle she was annoyed if her grouping wasn’t a single hole. I’ve shot for 15 years and I still can’t do that…
We have three kids; Addi (4), Nolan (3), and Shane (2). At a young age, I can already see my passion growing in them. If I’m headed to the range, they want to grab their bow and come with. Every time Addi see’s a deer she excitedly asks “Dad! Can we shoot it!?” Warms a fathers heart. I look forward to the day I can start bringing them a long, like my dad did with me.