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Pass it on – Taking your Kids Hunting


As I have evolved as a hunter, one of the joys is having the opportunity to share those moments with my Children. Most hunters will agree that we love chasing big ole bucks and this is often difficult when hunting with kids. However, the memories we build while hunting will often last a lifetime.

M Son Ridge with his First Turkey

I wasn’t fortunate enough to have a father who loved the outdoors. He chose to spend his time chasing a white ball around while I chose to chase whitetails, squirrels and turkeys. Not a single memory exists of hunting together, save for the opening day dove hunts he went on annually. But those three hunts often find their way into my mind as I recall our time together. Sadly, he left us thirteen years ago and opportunities to build on those are gone. But I will always remember sitting beside him as he shot those doves and I retrieved them for him.

In those days the limit was twelve birds, we say stationary along the edge of some Chesterfield county agriculture field wearing our duck brown “dove hunting clothes” watching as birds flew past. “Never shoot until you can see his beak” dad would say noting that too many hunters shoot when the birds are far too distant. I noted that every time his gun barked, feathers flew and birds fell. Faithfully, I readied myself waiting for instruction to “back” his birds to his hand. Barely a Labrador could have competed with my desire to bring him his bird.

My oldest son Alex with a doe

As I have grown from son to father, I have longed for the day I could sit with my sons and daughters in the wonders of the outdoors and watched their faces in amazement at ducks twisting through flooded timber. Or as a buck stares directly at our motionless faces trying to make out what was sitting in that tree.

Nothing prepared me for the moments, nothing compares to the joy a parent feels when their son or daughter experiences the thrill of the hunt. The ear to ear smile and feeling of accomplishment they feel when that turkey struts into range or the buck turns broadside. Nothing compares to their elation when the squirrel falls from the tree tops or the fish is netted.

Ridge Looking For Squirrels

Fortunately today there is a lot of emphasis on taking our kids hunting, more and more deer stand manufacturers are building double ladder stands that accommodate parent and child. Those moments spent in silence watching in amazement as the world awakens to a new dawn are lifetime moments. As I said in another story, “they are eternal instants, moments that flash through our lives but forever transform us.”

People hunt for a variety of reasons, often personal, sometimes it’s more. As I have evolved, I hunt more for the opportunity to share these moments with my children. Offering words of wisdom, encouragement and laughter.

One thing I have learned about hunting with kids, they can seldom hunt as long as I can alone. Rather than forcing them to hunt so long they learn to hate it, I let them decide when we will end the hunt. Many a squirrel hunt has transformed into a walk through the woods, searching for artifacts, or old deer rubs, many a deer hunt as ended after a few hours in exchange for sitting around the campfire or looking for arrowheads.

When I hunt with my children, it’s more about being with them, than it is about harvesting game. Sur they want to kill something, and most of them have – but it’s about building memories, about securing a love and passion for the out of doors. It’s about the being there – with them at those moments.

When you get a chance, take your kids with you, enjoy those moments when they want to be with you, look into their faces and see the excitement, the wonder and be thankful that you have those moments to share. Because before you know it, they will be gone, or interested in other things. Build the memories while you can, of all the things we accomplish as hunters, building memories with our children is the best investment we can make.