By Jessica Grote

There are very few things in life that bring me more pleasure and enjoyment than watching my kids strive to be successful at something they love. Then the experience becomes even better when you get to participate and share in the learning and growing of that talent.

I grew up on a fifth-generation cattle ranch in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, near a little town that has become so popular named Fredericksburg. I grew up hunting and working on the ranch with my dad. He always raised hunting dogs and we used them for most of the hunting we did. I also loved to help work cattle, goats, and break colts. There weren’t many activities on the ranch that my dad didn’t include me in. My grandmother that also lived on the ranch used to tell me I should have been a boy. I graduated from college with a Bachelors in Agriculture Development. I now have the best career ever as a broker for St. James Sporting Properties where I specialize in the sales of hunting and sporting properties. So you can say I love the world of hunting and outdoors and it’s a passion.

My other love is my family. I have been blessed with three amazing children. We live a very active lifestyle and they are involved in numerous activities and sports. I had the privilege of getting to raise them on the ranch as well and they were able to help out and work alongside me. All three learned early how to ride well, shoot, and work hard.

My oldest son, Gavin, is 16 and is a bareback rider. I love watching him ride and compete, and have been so proud to see him finish in the top 4 in his division at Nationals for the past 4 years. When he’s not riding, we’re hunting. We have hunted some pretty incredible places like Alaska, West Texas, and the Hill Country. He loves the outdoors!

My 13-year-old daughter is a dead eye when it comes to deer hunting. She is a better shot than her two brothers. When we bird hunt, she is shooting a camera. Emily loves to photograph our hunting trips. She shoots phenomenal pictures and loves to capture the great outdoors. I want more than anything to instill in her, and other young women, that to get positive attention in the field she only needs to try her best, have fun, and stay classy.

In the past 5 years I was introduced to upland game hunting, sporting clays, and skeet shooting. Even though I had done some of this throughout my childhood, I never had much opportunity. I decided very quickly that I loved shooting shotguns and I wasn’t half bad at it either. Even though all three of my kiddos love to shoot and hunt, my youngest boy Cade was the one who fell in love with it like I did. His love grew more and more over the past 5 years and I purchased him a youth shotgun for his 9th birthday. He loves to shoot clay pigeons, participate in sporting clay tournaments, and go dove and quail hunting. Nothing feels better than doing something you love with your children and watching them fall in love with the sport as much as you love it.

The first time Cade picked up a shotgun to shoot clays, it was apparent that he was a natural. He hit more clays than most of the adults shooting. We have so much fun shooting together. Being outdoors, traveling to new places, and meeting new people together is so much fun and I am so happy he wants to be doing all those things with me, his mom. One of my prouder moments is when other shooters ask him where he learned to shoot, he points to me, and says, “my mom!”

I love the experience of hunting and shooting with my kids. There is no better way to experience the outdoors; while spending quality time with people you love, while growing your skills and talents at the same time. I am so grateful I can be the kind of mom that can teach her boys, and girl, how to hunt and shoot. I hope one day they look back and think about just how cool that really is.