For many of us, our fathers introduced us to and nurtured our passions for the outdoors and hunting. While that may not be as prevalent today as many households are split and moms or other family members and close friends have picked up that role, it certainly was the case for me.
Here are a few of the best reasons dads are great hunting buddies. I didn’t rank these in order because, well, they’re all equally important.
Dads know where to go!
Location, location, location … It doesn’t just apply for real estate; it also applies to hunting. Dad’s often put in hours scouting, prepping food plots, setting stands and blinds, all in an effort to provide the best experience for their children. Nothing is more frustrating to a child, or a dad, than sitting in the woods for days on end without witnessing an animal for which you’re hunting. Dads go out of their way to help eliminate some of that frustration, but also recognize the importance of teaching their children that hunting isn’t easy. It isn’t like going to the grocery store, and success is never guaranteed. I think sometimes, as dads, we overthink the child’s expectations of the outing. Most of the time, their main goal is to spend quality time with their dad.
Dads are good teachers
It takes patience to teach a youth to hunt. Kids fidget, talk when it’s inappropriate and way too loudly, and their attention spans minutes not hours. A dad, who is patient and understanding of their children’s (in)ability to remain still, quiet or focused, provides a positive hunting experience while educating in small increments each outing.
Dads let us fail
There’s nothing more important to a child’s development (and to their mental health as an adult) than learning to cope with failure. Dads are less prone to coddle, and they’re OK letting their children learn from the mistakes they make along the way. If the kid wants to climb a tree on his/her own, then they have to work out how to get down on their own. If they try to jump a creek but overestimate their ability to leap tall buildings, nothing brings them back down to earth like a dunk in an ice-cold stream and walking back to the truck with squishing shoes. Many times, we are our own teachers, but failure is the best teacher of all.
Dads don’t judge
Regardless of whether you pull the trigger or not, kill an animal or miss, decide to take a young animal versus a mature one, use a shotgun instead of bow, sleep in instead of going out, dads don’t judge and they support our choices. This somewhat relates to the section above, but more importantly, our dads let us choose the type of hunters we want to be while gently guiding us to make legal, moral and ethical choices. My dad knows that my style of hunting is different from his, and that’s OK. We can still go together and enjoy sharing our time outdoors, but most importantly, we have a mutual respect for each other, our abilities, and our own choices.
While moms, grandpas and Uncle Joe make great hunting partners, to me there’s nothing like hunting with my dad or my own boys. Happy Father’s Day, and may you enjoy many seasons sharing the outdoors with your children or your own dad