Growing up hunting in the sisterhood

Growing up hunting in the sisterhood
WICHITA, Kan. (MCT) - The Davis sisters alternated between giggling and bickering as they shared doughnuts and driving duties late Saturday morning.

Three hours earlier, Hailey, 14, and Holly, 12, shared a scene that's very common for them.

As the sun rose on Saturday's opening of late zone duck season, the girls were cradling shotguns, one on each side of their father, Jeff.

They've already sampled a wide range of hunts.

"I really like pheasant hunting the best," Hailey said as she waited for ducks. "I like moving from field to field and the walking... and when everybody yells when they see a bird."


Though she's a big fan of spring turkey hunting, Holly said deer hunting's her favorite.


"I like just sitting there," she said, "watching all of the other stuff, like turkeys, while you're hunting."

Until the past few years the girls were mostly tag-along partners with their dad on hunts ranging from local doves to Rocky Mountain elk.

"For years they walked on pheasant hunts and in (2006) I let them carry empty shotguns," Jeff Davis said. "Last year they got to put one shell in their gun. They both got their first pheasants."

The sisters shoot twin 20 gauge semi-autos their dad purchased when they were about 4 years old. The guns were recently custom-fitted for the girls.


"We'd been just getting by with short-stocked guns," Jeff Davis said. "I figured they were big enough to get going right."

Saturday's trip to a private wetland gave the guns plenty of use.

A half hour before legal shooting hours, the girls split the chores of helping their dad spread decoys and keeping a hand on Sage, their year-old black lab.


Wound tight on her first duck hunt, Sage never saw a tossed decoy she didn't want to chase.

With the legal shooting time came the first flights of the day. Several early flights of blue- and green-winged teal were in and out of range before the girls could get a close shot.

A flight of ringbills gave a low pass and dad dropped a bird. Sage handled her first waterfowl fetch with more enthusiasm than the girls on Christmas morning.

A few minutes later a mallard drake decoyed beautifully. Holly hit the bird with two quick shots. Sage was on it no more than two seconds after it hit the water.

The personalities of both girls were evident as they waited between flights. Hailey talked nearly nonstop with her dad, tried his duck calls and eventually laid her head on his shoulder to relax.

Holly sat a few yards away, patiently scanning the skies, often announcing incoming flocks.

Between calm skies and sitting on a wide-open, sun-bathed bank, Jeff Davis struggled to get more mallards or pintails within range. Assorted divers and teal were more cooperative.

Time after time the girls emptied their guns as their dad encouraged them to keep trying and Sage ran the shallows looking for ducks that weren't there.

Yellow 20 gauge hulls littered the bank like dandelions after a spring rain. One greenwing was dropped from a passing flock of at least 50.

Jeff Davis was soon figuring a way to better hide his daughters to get them easier shots on their next hunt.

"A blind would sure get the birds closer and let the girls shoot while standing," he said. "Tomorrow afternoon's project will be to build a blind out here."

The sisters will probably be there to help. Pre- and post-hunt preparation have always been expected chores.

At a nearby cabin the girls stored decoys and put up equipment before grabbing the chocolate doughnuts and taking the utility vehicle for a spin after the hunt.

Jeff Davis shot frequent looks outdoors as he cooked skillets of bacon, eggs and panc akes.

"I think a lot of it for them is just getting outdoors together," he said as he watched the utility vehicle streak past and listened to the laughter. "This time in our lives doesn't last very long. I try to get them out a lot."

© 2008, The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

Stripping a reel and adding fresh line is a breeze if you know the drill—literally.

New G. Loomis IMX Pro Rod Series

New G. Loomis IMX Pro Rod Series

David Brinkerhoff of G. Loomis shares his knowledge of the new IMX Pro rod series. The IMX Pro rod series comes in 10 new models and will cover five technique-specific categories. Available Fall 2020. MSRP $345-355.

Safely Transport Kayak, Canoe with Malone Auto Racks

Safely Transport Kayak, Canoe with Malone Auto Racks

Mike Carney highlights three products deigned to get you there and back; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

New to the North American market comes the 'world's lightest spinning reel.'

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

When spring and summertime high water comes to your favorite catfish lake, how do you catch these popular fish in a suddenly flooded environment? Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish in High Water

Game & Fish Staff

When spring and summertime high water comes to your favorite catfish lake, how do you catch...

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick. ICAST

Who Won ICAST 2020 Best of Show?

Game & Fish Staff - July 17, 2020

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working? Conservation & Politics

Revisiting the Light Goose Conservation Order

M.D. Johnson - March 30, 2020

It's been two decades since spring snow goose season was federally mandated. Is it working?

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season. Whitetail

Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018

Kelly Bostian

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.

Officers face a myriad of incidents in the field; these Texas Game Wardens stories range from the serious to the ridiculous. Stories

Bodycam Footage Exposes Naked Hunter: Game Warden Stories

Game & Fish Online Staff - November 28, 2017

Officers face a myriad of incidents in the field; these Texas Game Wardens stories range from...

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now