It’s Here! This is my favorite time of the year. There is a chill in the air in the mornings that makes you put on a hooded sweatshirt. When you walk outside there is a different smell. The grass in your yard is not growing as fast and trees are starting to make their switch to fall. This can only mean one thing…..Deer season has arrived!
It is easy to get excited and caught up in the hype and forget about the most important job a hunter has. We have to carry on this tradition of enjoying the outdoors and there is no better way to do that than taking a kid hunting. When I was a kid some of my fondest memories came from behind my 22 single shot rifle. My grandfather and I would go to a block of woods and he would sit down by a tree and I would take off walking through the woods. If I came back with two squirrels he would have three. It never failed he was always more successful with patience than I was with haste. The outdoors is a great place to teach a child many of life's lessons.
Squirrel hunting is a great opportunity to teach woodsmanship. How do pick your feet up and set them down instead of dragging them. How to pick and choose your steps so you step on the dirt instead of leaves. How to block your silhouette with a big tree, brush pile, or bush. How to be quiet, patient, and see the details. How to identify different trees. Remember these kiddos just want to do what your doing!
When the kids are ready to start deer hunting be sure to make it fun and don’t stay too long. A trophy to a kid is any animal they may harvest. Their happiness will come from your approval of them. These kids don’t need to shoot a 30 pointer. They need to experience success. Use a blind so that they can move around a bit and bring the ipad, iphone, ipod, or iwhatever. Keep them occupied until the action starts. These kids are used to immediate gratification and waiting three hours for a ten minute show just doesn't cut it. You can not tell them about it, you have to show them, and if you can’t willingly keep them there long enough they will never know.
Hunting is not killing and the kids certainly do not have to go on a “hunt” to start the passion within them. Go for a walk in the woods and pick out tracks of wildlife in the mud. Look at different types of trees. Show them a buck rub or scrape. Take them with you when you are preparing deer stands, filling up your feeder, or checking a trail camera. I’ve yet to see a kid properly introduced to the outdoors that didn’t fall in love. Do you part and take a kid hunting!