Bo and Cindy after a hunt.The sun was up the dogs were running (just not to us.) Daddy and I were sitting on the side of the middle road (a dirt road on the hunting club)and he was teaching me how to whittle. We didn’t kill any thing that day, I don’t even remember if we even saw a deer that day but I was hunting and that was all that mattered. This is one of the earliest clear memories I have of hunting. And one that will stay with me for a long time.
I remember waking up, going into my parents room, waking my daddy to ask if it was time to go hunting. I returned to my bed disappointed and tried to go back to sleep but the anticipation was killing me. Being a young boy I was unable to tell time and it was only 12 o'clock (this was only one of many trips to their room that night to ask that question). Some of the fondest memories of my childhood involved hunting with my daddy. In fact it is still some of the fondest memories of now, and hopefully still to come.
I started hunting with my dad when I was just a little boy. I could not have been much more than five, probably younger. I learned many lessons there and created many memories. I learned to sit still and listen (although I still struggle with that, ADHD and all) how to safely handle a gun, that you only kill what you are going to eat and much more. These lessons helped shape me into the man that I am.
To many kids hunting is a foreign idea to them. Many of them will not learn to love spending time in nature. Nor will they learn to respect nature and firearms the way we did. From a very young age I knew what a gun was and what it was capable of doing. I was not scared of it but I knew not to mess with it. Partially because I knew what my daddy would do if I did mess with it. But he taught me to respect it. This generation is enveloped with video games and computers. The only thing they know about guns is what they see on Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty.
This is why we have to take the time and introduce hunting to kids. Our sport is a dying one. It is also the sport with the biggest target on its back. Without kids learning to hunt and fish it will not last 50 more years. Besides can you think of a better way to spend time with your kids than to take them hunting. To be there and enjoy Gods creation with them. To teach them the lessons they will carry throughout their lives. To see the excitement on their faces when they see their first animal that they are hunting. To witness their first kill. In doing this both of you are making memories.
BO with Mallards from one of his first hunts.It may not even be your child. So many kids these days are growing up without fathers to take them hunting. They have no one to tech them these lessons and show them how to enjoy nature. And they so desperately need it. Without this, they will grow up not knowing what we hold so dear. And they very well could be the ones that grow up and try to take it away from us. Or worse they could become the guy/gal in the tree not far from you who has no clue what he/she is doing, using their rifle scope as a set of binoculars to see what you are doing.
Over the years we have taken many kids hunting with us. We have watched them grow from kids who have very little knowledge of the outdoors into true sportsmen. They learned how to handle themselves and how to be safe. Yes when we first take them hunting it means that we have to miss out on some of the action ourselves but it is worth it. I would rather watch a kid kill a duck than to shoot one my self. To see how their eyes light up and the pure awe on their face. If you have never saw that then you do not know what you are missing.
Even if they are too young to hunt themselves they are amazed by what you do. Buckman takes his son BO with us regularly. Now BO is too young to shoot a gun on his on but he loves to watch his daddy shoot ducks. In fact Buckman says that it is the only time you can get him out of bed without a fight. And he is learning fast. When we meet in the morning we ask him where he wants to sit. He always answers “I want to sit at the fish pond, Daddy shoots better at the fish pond”. He has also learned how to watch for ducks and that I am the resident duck caller ( I never said I was any good, I just got stuck with the job). When he sees ducks, and with his young eyes it is usually before us he starts calling out “Blow Joe Blow”. And at the end of the hunt he can always tell you who killed what. Except for the green heads he normally claims those for himself.
As you may know, all of this started as us chronicling what we are doing to improve our duck pond. What you may not know is why. Yes we want to shoot more ducks. But more importantly we want a place where our kids can learn to hunt ducks. BO is already on his way to becoming a great duck hunter but we want to make sure that Bernie's girl Heyleigh and my daughter Molly as well as any other kid we pick up along the way has a place where they can learn to love the outdoors as much as we do.
I the end it does not matter what game you are chasing or what method you are using. All that matters is that we bring a new generation to the sport and make memories. So take a kid hunting because if you don’t teach them, you never know who or what may. That’s the Briary River Way.