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Think pink: Father welcomes hunting season with daughters, son

Mark Harmon is a family man, avid outdoorsman, Eagle Scout, veteran and active community volunteer.

This is a busy time of year for us outdoorsy people. This is a time of year that fishing picks up. Most anglers will tell you that this is the time to increase your chances to catch a musky. Others insist this is a great time of year to go chasing walleye or pike. Our morning commutes get a little foggier as the water is much warmer than the cool dawn air. There certainly is something dreamlike about being on a still lake watching the fog raise and dropping a line into the water.

There is a certain conflict despite the opportunities of success for fishing. This is the time of year that hunting opens up. Today, Sept. 16, is the opener of archery season for deer, small games, grouse, and partridge.

Some of us have been in the woods setting our cameras, setting our stands, fixing our stands, or walking trails to see where there may be evidence for small game. I can tell you, walking through the woods as the sun rises on trails through the fog is a magical experience. Hearing the fog lift and the drips of moisture falling off the trees is a moment of serenity that can recharge one's spirit and energy. Mornings like this have a way of letting hours slip past you and at the next glance at your watch, it is hours later. Some of these mornings hunting grouse can be as fulfilling as a long weekend off. In a perfect world, perhaps we could we could walk trails hunting small games in the morning and sit with our bow at night.

Then wait, here it is next Saturday, Sept. 23 and duck season opens! So, deciding what to do when everything is going on can create a little stress on an avid adventurer.

So, how do we decide what to do? It can be a little hard to decide, but here is a tip that I encourage you to take part of: Take advantage of the time that you can spend with another person. Life is full of choices, but I do believe the best choice is taking the time to share experiences with others.

I am fortunate to be a father and even more blessed to have a son and two daughters. Sharing experiences with them is incredibly valuable to me. I love to take them to the woods and watch for where the deer are moving to. I enjoy walking down paths and listening to them explain to me the things they know about the woods. Often, I am learning about our area, as I grew up in Illinois, and many things about our soil and plants are quite different and our school educates our children about the area we live in.

Over the last weekend, the kids, my father and I spent time constructing a couple sturdy deer stands. We adjusted the windows to heights that will complement their hunting styles and listened to the kids' theories on where the stands should go on the hunting land and why.

My oldest daughter has such a clear focus about where her stand will go and why; you can easily visualize her smile and satisfaction of a successful hunt. My littlest, who is not quite a hunter, admires the construction and questions when a good time to plan her treehouse will be. I assure her that the more strategic the location of her treehouse site will be, the potentially nicer my deer stand, oops, her tree house could be. We chuckle and laugh and continue the business and reminisce about the past seasons.

During my work week, I converse with many people, and we share stories of our weekend experiences. Frequently, I am talking to women that compliment my efforts to include my daughters and inform me that they were not included in the boy activities. Most generally, I hear an opinion that they would have like to have been included, but that is the way it was. Most likely, it is the way it was, and that was it.

Today, if you have not looked at your hunting regulations yet, there is something new that I think is pretty cool. A new color has been added for acceptable hunting apparel besides blaze orange, it is blaze pink. Yep, blaze pink! Some may think that is corny or a marketing ploy. I think it expands a sense of identity to hunters that do not have to conform to the way things were. I may not have the ambition to change out my wardrobe, but as my girls get older (and stop growing), I will certainly support my little pink hunters. I compliment the DNR and the decision makers. So, this year, take stock in experiences you share with the people you adventure with and be safe.