Hunting with kids and grandkids is like an old dog teaching a young dog new tricks. You must spend the time. Be a good example and most of all, be patient. As a hunter ages, you understand patience at a greater level. With so many distractions and activities for young folks now days, getting the time to be in the field is tough. Patience becomes a necessity. When you get the time, use it wisely. I’ve often wanted success for the kids so badly that I forgot the most important thing – the experience of the hunt. These experiences are what keep hunters going. Yes, we want success, but most of all we want them to experience the hunt. Practicing together, getting hunting items ready, buying items, traveling and most importantly being with family and friends are what it’s all about. I hunted with a man who had a major impact on my life as a youth and as a young adult. He often said, “Bow hunting is a heck of next year sport.” The hunts with this man are memories I will never forget. So how do we get these experiences with our kids and grandkids? In a world of instant gratification, it takes a lot patience to make it happen. Not all my early hunting experiences were successful and that was okay. It’s seems to me that many people want to be successful without the effort or time. There are game shoots that can provide that opportunity, but for me the spirit of the hunt is what fulfills my need.
Getting the chance to develop the spirit of the hunt is the challenge we need to explore along with building skills in the young hunter/fisherman. Let them experience success or failure with kind words and strong support. Teach safety with your hunting or fishing by showing them the best practices of our sport. Take your child or grandchild along when fishing and hunting. Take them as often as they you can and most importantly, when they want to go. Introduce them to other hunters when you have complete confidence in their skills and ability. No exceptions! Ted Nugent said on one of his shows, “Get high on hunting, not drugs or alcohol.” They can only do that if we spend the time. Remember we are not perfect, and we will make mistakes, but we can’t stop trying.
Some of the proudest moments of my life have come when hunting with my son as he shot his first two deer with a rifle and another with a bow.