My son Sgt. Daggett was a very avid hunter and fishermen. He caught his first fish before his second bithday and got his first Red Rider BB gun at the age of 5. He became very skilled at stocking game bird's and Rabbits and soon was harvesting enough Doves, Quail and Rabbit's to make meals for the family. At the age of 10 he took his first Elk and by 15 had killed 3 Elk, 2 Mule Deer Buck's and a desert Hog.
In his short lifetime, he saw some of the best Crappi fishing and Trophy Bull Elk hunting in the world. One night Kyle, our dear Game and Fish Officer Randy Smith and I caught over 300 Crappi. The bite was slow unti 9:45 pm. So slow, one of our friends Tom Bechard asked to be dropped off at the dock so he could go home. I turned our Pontoon Boat towards an Island accross the lake and asked God to put us on a spot. As we approached the shoreline,I spotted a reflective Booie just off the Island. It was a perfect spot.
Randy had found a bottle of Jim Beam in the boat and had one to many in frustration of no fish. Kyle asked me to wake him up if the fish started to bite. I had to set up the boat and light's by myself. It was 9:20 pm. Bt 9:45 pm one of my slip bobber's went under and I caught a nice slab size Crappi. A minute later, I had another. I told the guy's
" you might want to get up, I think the bite is on. From 10:00 pm to 4 am in the morning, the bite was non-stop. You could not bait up a minnow fast enough and you could only use one pole. After about 100 fish, I was frustrated by the line's being burned as we hauled the big 2.5 pound Crappi in without a net. Often, the line's would hit a hot Lantern, or just brake fromthe weight. All three of us had fish on most of the night, so a net was normally out of question. waste of time. I put on a small Purl white swister tail Jig and dropped the line straight down and jigged it. I had a fish in seconds. I caught a half dozen before Kyle and Randy swithched.
We filled two large coolers and a small one. After Kyle caught 80 or so it was 2 am. He said " Dad I'm going to crash" so it was hust Randy and I up front. I caught another dozen or so I released. I left Randy by himself, catching fish and leting them go. We had over 200 in the cooler's.
When Kyle was 12, we went to unit 9, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to share an Archery Elk Camp with his Uncle Bill and two other friends. The afternoon we arrived at cam, I put Kyle in a tree stand I had taken some good Bulls from. I sat a stand a little further up the draw. I heard a Bull Bugeling as he went to the tank Kyle was sitting. I could not see the tank, but could hear everything. The Bull was hot and screaming as he went to water and wallow. Kyle was 10' up a big Ponderosa sitting on a 2 by 4 I had placed there many years before. He had a 350 Bull walk right past the tree and go to water. From less than 15 yards he got to watch this beauriful animal do his thing. The Bull stayed for about 10 minutes. The next morning, we called in several Bull's to within 10 yards. One big 6 point Bull came in so fast and mad, I pushed Kyle into a small Oak thicket. The Bull was close and still coming. I waved my arm to get his attention. He justedlooked at me amd Bugeled before walking off. Within 1 hour that morning, we called in and saw a dozen nice Bull's. One Heard Bull was in the 400 class. For you non-hunter's this is a monster Bull. Kyle and His sister Kendall spent several great Elk Hunts with me. One of my most cherished memories with my children on a hunt is when Kendall, Kyle's sister killed her first Elk. She took the first by herslf as I was walking back to get the truck. I heard two shots, but could think who could be shooting. I ran back to the tank Kendall was sitting and Heard "I got an Elk', "I got an Elk". My daughter was in the moment all hunter's love. She was the Princes of camp that night and I will never forget how happy Kyle was for his sister.
God, thank you for blessing me with a son and daughter who loved to share time with their father doing what he loved to do. I could and should write a book on our hunting and fishing adventure's.
Now it is hunting season here in Montana. Yesterday, I heard the first Bull bugel from high up Teakettle Mt.
It hurts me deeply to know my son will never hear that sound again, or stock Trophy Whitetail Bucks with his Bow.
For those of you who read this and have a young son at home, love and cherish every moment you have with your children. Girl's like to get out with there dad's too.
Jack Daggett: Proud father of a great young man, Sgt. John Kyle Daggett.