Here I sit, with cabin fever and was wondering what to write about next. I figured I would stay with teaching new hunters, whether young or old. So I asked each one of my kids to write something that they had learned from me taking them out in the wilds. I will get to their answers after I give some basics behind my thoughts in teaching them. First and foremost is gun safety. When they were little they would help hold the cleaning stuff and firearms. The outdoors was to be respected, trash picked up (even other’s trash), Wildlife was not to be harassed and we obeyed the laws (seasons and limits).
I remember having them out shooting the bow and/or the pellet gun in the backyard (we had an acre, so we were safe) and teaching them about the firing line and waiting till it was safe to go down range. To this day when we are on the rifle range they are the ones that are making sure everyone else is safe, or we pack up and leave. They started off shooting balloons with the bow, which gave them a quick reward to see and hear it, pop. When the got to shooting the 22’s splat targets worked awesome, they tried to put faces on the squirrel or turkey. When they got a little bigger, the high power rifles were at the gong @ about 200 yards. My one daughter has deemed my little bolt action .223 as hers, I have to ask to borrow it.
I wanted them to have fun in everything we did in the outdoors. When we went fishing it was to share the time together even when we didn’t catch anything or had to throw them all back. I did learn patience with them…I learned that I was not there to catch fish myself but to be there to help them. That was a hard lesson for a father that loves to fish. As they got older, then I was able to fish….goal obtained!! Crabbing was a little different, I pulled pots, I got them out of the traps, I re-baited the traps, I carried the bucket back to the picnic sight, I cleaned and cooked them, I cracked them and they eat them. Memories we will have for a lifetime and I enjoyed every minute of it. Oh, they did poke at the crabs also.
We would also just go out and scout/look for animals. Mostly look for, but when we would find some, the question was who brought the camera? I think it is on the coffee table. It was more about seeing these wild creatures in their habitat, to watch how they acted and when they became skittish, we would back out and leave them alone.
So with that behind us, I will add my kid’s comments here. I will not change the meaning of them, just grammar. From the youngest to the oldest and I will add my comments to the end.
Son (serving a church mission):
Am I an avid hunter? No. Will I ever be? Probably not. But what hunting and the outdoors does for me is it allows me to gain a deeper understanding of Heavenly Fathers creations, and it provides a means through which I can have a deeper bond and connection with you as my father as well. We have been split up for the majority of my formative years. You have seen me grow, but you haven’t seen me seen me grow. It’s difficult to explain how I feel, but as much as we have in common, we certainly do have a lot of differences. The outdoors allow us the opportunity to connect, to dig a little deeper, begin to understand each other more, and escape the nastiness of the media and the other distractions that the world we live in puts before us. This environment, which is only found in the true outdoors, provides us with the opportunity to truly connect and talk.
Fishing is fun. Shooting is fun. Hunting is fun. My explanation above explains why.
I am not your typical 23 year old girl. My father has raised me around a lot of outdoor experiences, and for that I am very blessed and thankful! I absolutely love to shoot guns, go fishing, go crabbing, and I even love camping (the real kind)! I have learned how to clean a gun, shoot a gun, tie my own flies, gut a fish, bait my hook, take my fish off the hook, pee in a bucket (while fishing on the boat), and I even kiss my fish when I have to throw them back!
My favorite places to go while visiting my dad would have to be Bowman’s Bay and the shooting range! When we go to Bowman’s Bay we first place our crab traps out, then while we wait to check them, we go hiking and play on the beach. We lift the rocks along the beach and play with the baby crabs, starfish, and all the other sea creatures we find!
Growing up around guns taught me a lot about gun safety and the do’s and don’ts about how to handle a gun, shoot a gun, and even clean a gun! I shoot lefty just like my dad! I absolutely love to shoot my .223 and I enjoy being able to hit the gong at 200 yrds and yes I am very proud of the big “ting” I hear when I hit it!!
Throughout my teenage years my dad was always going on scouting trips, hunting trips and fishing trips. In the beginning I was not interested, however with time and the persistent of my dad I was able to open up to the outdoors. My dad always instilled in us as kids that we can do anything we put our mind to. Our society has labeled boys to be the outdoors kind and the girls to be the shopping kind. I am so thankful now that my dad was persistence with always asking if I wanted to join. I was able to increase my knowledge about the world I live in. He was able to teach me lifelong essential skills such as; basic survival skills needed in case of an emergency while out in the woods/home and proper technique and safety to hunt and fish without harming the animals and or other people. One of my favorite memories was going scouting for deer. All five of us loaded up in the truck and headed out. Once we finally arrived at the “spot” be bundled up and headed out looking for what my dad would always call it tracks (in my words POOP). There was always excitement when we sighted deer tracks. Once we found their bedding we knew we found the spot. On this particular outing we were leaving and we were curious about the large pipe (culvert) in the ground, I decided that I would walk through it. On the other end my parents met me with a camera. I think that being raised in the outdoors has made me a stronger person today. In addition to the knowledge of the outdoors itself, I was shown the importance of the family unit.
My two youngest have lived in Vegas for almost 15 years…..so time with them was very valuable. This is why it was so hard for me to get my son out hunting. The oldest I have raised since she was ten years old. I think sometimes she got tired of me dragging her around in the outdoors. She has three young kids (son and two daughters) that I hope I will get the chance to show them the fun I did with their mother and cousins.
I’m hoping to keep a nephew involved in the great outdoors and get his bother-in-law started. He just needs to take the Hunter Ed class. I have a couple of buddies that don’t hunt much and trying to get them more active in it.
I believe that the more people involve with the hunting/fishing the more we have to help support the future of these sports. I believe that the more ethical sportsmen out there, they will help others to realize how important it is to keep a good word about these sports and they will conform. I believe that the more people know what we do for the wildlife; they will allow us to keep hunting and fishing. These poachers are a disease to our sport and show how they disrespect the wildlife and what others see about hunters. Teach them right up front and they will teach the next person and so on. They will carry it on into their adult lives and instill in their children’s lives.