Five Reasons to Take Your Son Hunting
If you are a hunter, you probably escape to the woods to get away from all of the demands of your life. Even if you take a few days off of work to relax, you still may have to deal with a leaky roof, a stopped up toilet or even just a huge pile of laundry. Work stresses, marriage issues and parenting struggles can make people crave the peace and solitude that nature provides.
In the rush to get out of the house and into the deer stand, sometimes hunters can forget that there might be some little people in the house who are growing up into the next generation of hunters. Of course, it is easy to understand why you might overlook that your little guy might be interested in going hunting with you. After all, he was a baby and toddler for so long, that you may not have realized that he’s grown up enough to really enjoy a trip to the woods.
To the hunter who is serious about taking a deer or turkey out of the woods, dragging a loud and wiggly little boy along might not sound like too much fun. But even if your child has the attention span of a flea and can’t sit still for five minutes, hunting with him is still a good idea.
Why You Should Take Your Son Hunting
1. To protect the sport for future generations
Think back to the first few times you hunted. Most likely your current passion for the sport is because someone cared enough to get you started. Of course there are hunters who simply read books and magazines and got started on their own, but by and large, most hunters had a father, uncle, friend or brother mentor them into the world of hunting.
Studies have shown that for every 100 adults hunting in the United States, only 69 youth hunters are growing up in the sport, ready to hunt in their places as the previous generation ages or passes away. This means that to protect the sport of hunting, adults who hunt must mentor at least one young person over the course of their hunting career.
Imagine a world where hunting wild animals is not permitted. If the numbers of hunters continue to decline, eventually the anti-hunters will get the upper hand in crafting legislation that prohibits hunting. Hunters and conservationists understand that hunting is essential for keeping wildlife in check. Many non-hunters do not realize that the ticks that infest their yards, the raccoons that carry rabies to pets and the deer that regularly collide with vehicles would not be as pervasive if more hunters actively pursued the sport.
2. To Demonstrate a Love for the Outdoors and Respect for Nature
Let’s face it, most people don’t live in areas where they are regularly exposed to nature. For many different reasons, boys just aren’t permitted to roam the outdoors like they did in past generations. Most of them spend a good portion of their lives in the house staring at some sort of screen.
By taking your son hunting, you will broaden his exposure to the natural world. He will learn that the real world is trees, grass, dirt and rivers, rather than sidewalks, streetlights and manicured lawns. Most boys love the wide-open spaces that they seldom get to see and enjoy.
When you take your son hunting, he will learn about the intricate cycle of life and understand the interdependence of each component of the natural world. Hunters are nature lovers, despite what some people believe, and by simply observing the circle of nature, they have a greater appreciation of the importance of protecting the environment.
3. To Teach Him Responsible and Safe Hunting Practices
Nobody cares as much for a child’s welfare as his parents do. Therefore, no one is going to teach him how to safely handle a firearm as well as his mom and dad. By teaching your son the basics of firearm safety, you don’t have to worry that at some point he will run across a gun and hurt himself or someone else. He can satisfy his curiosity about weapons along with you in a safe manner. Instead of childproofing your guns, you can gun-proof your child.
You can also teach your son about responsible hunting practices. He will learn from you the importance of following the hunting laws that are in place and caring for the land where you hunt.
4. To Build His Character
Taking your son hunting will do more than just give you a fun activity to enjoy together. You will also teach him many things that will become a part of his character. You will be teaching him patience, endurance and toughness. He will learn about being a good sport when you spend hours hunting and come home empty handed. He will learn how to play by the rules when you abide by the hunting regulations in your area. While you think you are doing nothing more than sitting in a duck blind with your son, you will unintentionally be adding to the character that he is developing.
5. To Make Memories
By the time most boys are 15 or 16 years old, they have pretty much pulled away from their parents and are more focused on friends and their own budding independence. By the time a child is ten or eleven, the years in which a parent can make the greatest impact on his life are almost over. Kids crave the attention of their parents and they measure that focus in time. You cannot simply tell your child that he is important; you have to demonstrate his importance to you with your time.
Even if you and your son never take a deer out of the woods, just the fact that you cared enough to seek out his company will mean something to your boy. When you take the time to take your son hunting, you and he will make memories that will last a lifetime. The two of you will never forget the first time he shoots a duck or finally takes down a deer. The buck that the two of you tracked for hours will go down in family history as the “one that got away.”
Even though at the end of a long, hard week you may just want to just head out to the woods alone, next time, ask your boy if he is interested in coming along. Those hours may turn out to be the most important few hours of your entire week.