Fulfilling a dream

It was uncharacteristically warm that early September morning in Schefferville, Canada as young Dakota Beadnell settled in beside a Caribou run, his .308 Merlin perched across his lap. With the mercury pushing 80 degrees and the Caribou moving very little, the 12-year-old Thurman youth had seen nothing in his first few days afield. Having grown up in a hunting family, however, Dakota was fully aware that good things come to those who wait and he wasnt about to give up yet. His patience was soon rewarded as a nice young bull appeared in the distance. Unfortunately, the early morning schedule and warm weather had caught up to Dakota, who had drifted off into a light sleep beside his father, Tom. He poked me awake and said, here comes a Caribou, Dakota said. I took a dead rest against a small tree and put the sight where my Dad told me too. Dakota had practiced for months in anticipation of this moment, honing his marksmanship skills, completing the New York State safety hunters course and obtaining his passport. Dakotas Mom, Aaron, said he began hunting with his father and extended family when he was just 4 years old, learning the lessons of the forest like gun safety, patience and reading animal signs. His family had planned the guided Caribou hunt in the Canadian wilds for four years, knowing Dakota would be old enough at 12 to hunt big game there. With the hunt booked for the first week in September, Dakota drove with his Dad to Montreal, flew to Schefferville and climbed aboard a small plane for the final descent into the backcountry. A dozen of his family members including his grandfather, uncles and cousins also made the trip to be a part of Dakotas first big game hunt. They all would eventually take a Caribou, most filling their two animal bag limit. But this morning it was all about Dakota. I pulled the trigger as he turned broadside at 95 yards, and he went down with just one shot, Dakota said. He was a young bull, but he scored really well because he was so symmetrical. Dakota then helped his Dad quarter the animal and they began the mile trek back to camp. That afternoon, Dakota was the center of attention. It was really exciting, Dakota said. It is a day I will always remember. Will he return to Canada someday? Probably, but the next time, hed like to fly himself in. Once I get my pilots license I plan to go back, Dakota said. I hope to have that by the time I get my drivers license. Asked if he had any words of encouragement for other young hunters, Dakota said simply: Follow your dreams. If you have a dream to do it, just go out there and do it, he said. Moon phases and the rut If you believe the theory behind moon phases affecting the rut, such as those touted by Charles Alsheimer, this weekend should be golden for peak deer breeding activity. According to Alsheimer, the seven to 10 days after the second full moon following the autumnal equinox is the time of peak buck activity when 80 to 90 percent of does will be bred. The autumnal equinox fell on Sept. 22, with the first full moon after the autumnal equinox falling on Oct. 14. The second full moon after the autumnal equinox just passed on Nov. 13, making Nov. 20-23 the premier time to ambush a buck looking for love. John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at johng@denpubs.com.

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