Indiana Conservation Officer Jon Cook was patrolling rural Fulton County on the morning of Nov. 28 when he came across four generations of the Garl family celebrating their youngest member’s first buck deer harvest of his young life.
Colin Garl, 10, had just harvested a nice buck deer and was overcome with excitement as he was accompanied on this morning of the hunt by his father Craig Garl, 34, his grandfather Dave “Big Dad” Garl, 59, and his great grandfather Harley “Old Big Dad” Garl, 85, all of Nappanee.
This day also happened to be his father Craig’s birthday which added to the joy and emotion of the successful family day afield for the Garl family. Craig Garl told officer Cook that his grandfather Harley began hunting as a child and has passed on his love of the outdoors through the generations.
The Garl family’s closeness and quality time spent together pursuing their love of hunting and providing food for their tables is what the heritage of hunting is truly all about. Hunting has taught the Garl family patience, caring, respect for the resources, respect for each other and importantly has brought together generation after generation, enjoying all the gifts mother nature has to offer.
Craig Garl said his grandfather Harley grew up in Elkhart and his father was a police officer who instilled in Harley the values of family unity and the role that hunting can play in creating lasting and cherished family memories. From Harley to Colin, the Garl family has lived up to those values and will no doubt carry those values on for generations to come.
It has been said that the family that hunts together stays together and the Garl family is a living example of just how true that can be. This heart warming story was shared on the Indiana Conservation Officers Facebook page at Indiana DNR Law District 1. Craig Garl summed it up best “These great men taught me the knowledge and ethics of deer hunting. It is a privilege to share the experience with my son and pass down the true meaning of hunting; family, safety, and if the Lord blesses us with the fruit of the hunt even better.”