Get Your Kids Hunting
With most of the hunting seasons over now, and spring turkey hunting coming up, there is no better time than now to start getting your kids into hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. If you have already built an interest in your child for hunting, now is a great time to build on that. Right now is a bit of a lull in the outdoor activities, which makes a great time to hunt antler sheds, sight in a new gun as I will be doing this weekend with my youngest son, getting out for hikes on a pleasant day, or planning the trips for the coming year.
I am a firm believer in the importance of building attention to conservation, and that starts with our children. Especially in an age where almost every day there is something in the news about someone getting shot or some other terrible event. We have to teach our children when they are young the difference between outdoor activities, guns, and all the other stuff that goes on in the world that have nothing to do with the hunting heritage that we need to pass on to our kids. And it’s not just about hunting, it’s about anything to do in the outdoors, it’s about preservation of the resources we have left on this earth.
There is an old Native American saying that says “We don’t own this earth, we are only borrowing it from our children.” And what will we leave them?
I would love to have lived in the times of my great grandpa Earl, even though times were not so good then, and the numbers of game animals, water fowl, and turkeys are much stronger now than they were then. Hunting and fishing back then was a needed part of survival, whereas now it is not so much, and I think that is why so many people have a negative feeling about hunting.
But what uniformed people don’t know is that our game herds, waterfowl, and other species are doing so well now because of those that pursue them. While I am not in favor of pointing fingers at anyone, it annoys me when an occasional weekend hiker will tell me that hunting a “harmless” animal is wrong, or cruel in some way. I won’t go into that right now, I have talked about this in earlier posts. The problem is that those people don’t understand wildlife management, which is why you have to instill that in your children now, or it may be lost.
Aside from the ethical and philosophical discussions, there are some real values your children can learn from hunting. Of course there are many other things they can learn from any outdoor activities, I will focus on hunting for the moment. Here are a few things hunting can do for you and your kids:
- Cut down on your grocery bill – As food prices continue to increase, it’s nice to be able to provide a very inexpensive dinner.
- Develop hunting and processing skills – Hunting is a skill. Being able to stalk prey, knowing where to aim, and when to pull the trigger is an acquired skill. Being able to process an animal is a skill your children should learn.
- Build confidence – Knowing that you can provide for yourself and family using a weapon is critical. If the first time you enter the woods to hunt, you have a starving family depending on you, that’s a lot of pressure. Knowing that you’ve done it before is a great comfort. These activities will also build confidence in your children in ways that a video game won’t.
- Spend time together – There are many reasons to spend time with your kids. Hunting is a good way to spend time with them doing something that is not only useful, but educational, and enjoyable.
- Get kids outdoors – Many kids spend too much time playing video games and sucking down sodas and junk foods. Hunting will get them into the great outdoors where they can appreciate the wilderness that may be escaping thier lives.
- Teach them to quietly navigate terrain – Being able to move through the woods quietly is another skill that may come in handy one day.
- Promote gun safety and familiarity – Using a weapon is a skill every child should learn. Kids should not be ignorant about weapons. That is really dangerous! Especially if they are unfamiliar with them and find one at a friend’s house.
- Cross-training – If TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) comes, we are all going to be very, very busy trying to stay alive. Having someone else trained to hunt will improve your odds.
- A well rounded education – Aside form what your child learns in school, there are many other life skills that can be learned from hunting, like getting the game from the field to the table.
As an outdoors person, you have the opportunity to pass along your beliefs and values to the younger generation. If you don’t have a kid, or a niece or nephew, take a friend’s son or daughter hunting or fishing. And remember it’s not just about the hunting and fishing, it’s about the whole experience of the wilderness, and you have to build that passion in the generations that come after us.