Lowen, 50, has been a professional bass angler for nearly two decades, during which time he’s won in the Elite Series, qualified for 10 Bassmaster Classics®, and banked nearly $2 million in prize money. Among his contemporaries, he’s known as Mr. Consistency, largely because of his skill fishing jigs, but he’s equally as skilled at decoying and calling in ducks and geese. “My father started taking me waterfowl hunting when I was seven or eight years old,” remembers Lowen, “and I have done the same with my kids. They have traveled with me to every bass tournament for years and love the outdoors, so it’s wonderful that we hunt together, too. I know how lucky I am that we can all enjoy it together.”
Duck blinds can be cold, wet places to sit, especially when birds aren’t flying, so to keep his son from becoming discouraged, Lowen’s father Bill began by taking him during the early days of the season when temperatures are warmer. They built their blinds on dry ground, too, rather than sit or stand in the water.
“It really was the right way to start me hunting,” says the Yamaha Pro. “I remember the first duck I ever shot, because my father had to wake me up to shoot when a flight of pintails started coming in.”
Those early experiences hunting waterfowl led to a dedication to the sport that continues today, but in the years prior to the birth of Nevaeh and Hunter, Lowen does admit duck blinds often took priority over family get-togethers during the holidays. Hunts on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve were regular events, until one Christmas hunt lasted a little too long, causing him to be late for a family dinner.
“That was it,” laughs Lowen. “Everyone who knows me knows how much I do enjoy hunting waterfowl and whitetail deer, but today, as the children have grown older, my true enjoyment comes from being with them in a blind. If I don’t ever shoot another duck or goose, I won’t be disappointed.”
Although he still makes blinds up on dry ground for the family, much of their hunting is done from Lowen’s 20-foot DDP Xpress® aluminum boat, powered with a 115 horsepower Yamaha SHO® outboard. It has a wide, 98-inch beam for increased safety and stability in open water.
“The kids actually like waterfowl hunting more than deer hunting, because they don’t have to sit as still and quiet as they do in a deer stand,” continues Lowen. “The big boat gives them some extra room to move around. They’re only quiet when the birds show up.”
Deer hunting does take priority immediately after Thanksgiving when the Indiana rifle season opens for several weeks, but the highlight of their hunting year usually takes place between Christmas and New Year’s, when the state normally receives its largest migration of ducks and geese of the year.
“That’s something we always look forward to,” notes the Yamaha Pro, “and we try to make sure we’re home for it. We do make family hunting trips around the country to top waterfowl states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, or even North Dakota to hunt with friends but that week after Christmas is strictly family time in our own boat and blind.”
There may be one slight change in their hunting plans this year during that special week. Lowen wants to get his father back into a duck blind to be able to hunt with his grandchildren.
“I really think we can do it, too,” smiles Lowen. “It would definitely make the holiday season even more special for all of us.”
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