Sheldon grew up on a dairy farm two miles north of Lewiston, MN. He went to Immanuel Lutheran School until 8th grade and then attended Hope Lutheran High School and graduated in 2012. He pursued his love for agriculture and attended Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN, and received his diploma in Farm Operation and Management.
Growing up on a farm, Sheldon didn't have a lot of time to spend in the woods. His dad did his best to get him involved in the outdoors by waking up an hour earlier to milk the cows so that he could take Sheldon turkey or deer hunting. Spring and fall, which are when these seasons go on, are often times the busiest times for a farmer. Even though it is hard to park the tractor for a morning or afternoon to go sit in a tree, there’s something that burns inside of Sheldon that just makes him try and make the time.
One of Sheldon’s first memories of the outdoors is when he shot his first turkey. His dad, who is naturally a turkey “nut,” got Sheldon involved at the young age of 10. His dad took the time to set up a blind the day before and got the spot all ready to go. They set out to the woods a little late, because they had to finish milking cows in the morning first. They got set up in the blind and started to call and wait. After some time went by and a few distant gobbles, Sheldon’s dad pulled out a Pepsi and a candy bar to keep Sheldon occupied for a few hours. The gobbles slowly got closer and closer, and soon enough his dad told him to get ready because they were going to be walking in range soon. Sheldon brought his gun up and nervously awaited seeing the turkey close up and personal. His heart started to beat out of his chest when the gobbles were just yards away, but in the thick brush and out of sight. Soon enough three jakes showed themselves and his dad told him to put the beed of the gun on the closest one’s head and pull the trigger. Little did Sheldon know, his dad switched the shells from the target load to a big turkey load in the gun and the recoil almost knocked him on his back. After Sheldon shot, his dad was more fired up than he was! Sheldon barely got the safety back on and the gun put down before they were out of the tent and going to get his bird! Ever since then, Sheldon’s love of turkey hunting has grown and he thoroughly enjoys taking other beginners hunting.
“You may not have all the time in the world, but just introducing the outdoors to a young person can go a long way in passing the tradition down.”
Sheldon got introduced to bow hunting by a friend of his just a few years ago. He bought a starter bow and tried his hand at some whitetail bow hunting. The first year went by and Sheldon never got the opportunity to fling an arrow. The second year just about went by as well, but Sheldon decided to head on out on December 31, the last day of the season. It was freezing cold and there was a bunch of snow, but he was determined to get his first deer with a bow. He sat up against a fence post next to a standing corn field. He was there for an hour and a half and right before he decided to get up and go thaw his body out, Sheldon saw bodies of deer in the woods moving towards him. His heart started racing and he wasn't cold anymore! He got his bow ready to draw back and waited for the right time. The deer only had one thing on their mind, and that was food. Sheldon pulled back when one of the bigger does was behind a tree and shot her when she was 7 yards away. He looked for blood and went home to get his dad after milking to help him look for his deer. They got out there about two hours later, and recovered the doe only about 50 yards from where Sheldon sat. His passion for bow hunting has gotten stronger every year as he still pursues his first archery buck.
Sheldon and his cousin Layton grew up together, doing things in the woods or talking about their outdoor adventures together. About 5 years ago, they started a tradition called the “Thanksgiving Hunt.” On Thanksgiving evening they would go hunting together on Layton’s dad’s property for deer. They haven’t been successful every year, but they made many good memories. Sheldon and Layton continue to share their passion for the outdoors together and film each other’s hunts.
Sheldon has learned that you don’t need the nicest or the fanciest equipment, and you don’t need to put in thousands of hours into hunting every year. Just getting out there and enjoying nature and what God has created is more than enough for him and he tries to take advantage of it every chance he gets.