Spending time in the outdoors is truly a passion of mine. I don’t even need to be hunting or fishing, though I really do enjoy both of those things. I simply enjoy the fresh air, time spent away from electronics and social media, and I want my kids to appreciate the outdoors as well.
All three of my kids have been hunting with me at this point, but my first venture into taking kids to the field with me was when my daughter, now 9 years old, was just 5. She and I first took to a chunk of public land near the house in hopes of bagging either a deer or hog.
Even though I remember it like it was yesterday, I chuckle each fall when the memory pops up in my Facebook feed, because I get to reread the following post I made about hunting with kids.
Quickly learning rules to “hunting with kids.”
- Might as well set up next to the truck because walking to a good spot means stopping to pick flowers.
- Don’t expect to see or hear anything over the loud “whispering” questions about all the gear I own.
- Either get a small drink from the store or be prepared to climb in and out of the blind 100 times because bathroom breaks are needed.
- There is no quiet way to unwrap cheese crackers.
- Your optics will get fingerprints on them.
- All of these things are okay because they are having fun.
It’s worth noting that I also dozed off during the sit and awoke to more than 50 selfies on my phone.
Now, I meant it when I said it was a fun evening, but I also learned a valuable lesson in patience. In fact, that lesson in patience is probably one of the best lessons any hunter can learn if he or she hopes to become a mentor to kids, or even adults for that matter.
Learning to hunt, or to do any extracurricular activity, is something kids need to do at their own pace. Force them to go beyond their threshold and they will lose interest.
So, the next time you head to the woods for a hunt with a kid, be prepared to answer a hundred questions and know you’ll have to pack it up and leave when they are ready. And, most importantly, have fun.