Taking the kids hunting made the hunt even better

I feel like a terrible father. I haven’t taken my kids hunting near as often as I should have over the years. But I took a step to rectify that last week.

My kids are very busy with 4-H, school sports, and school itself, so it’s been difficult to get them out to hunt. With coronavirus shutting down a lot of those usual activities this past several months, we got to go hiking a lot more than we did in the past. I tried to teach them to step softly, avoid breaking sticks, and moving carefully when we hiked, so they’d be able to practice some of the skills they’d need for hunting, but it’s just not the same when you’re not actually pursuing game animals.

When we got out there for the real thing, they did pick it up quicker than I thought they would. In fact, they were both quieter in the woods than I was. We saw some new country, watched a bunch of moose, bald eagles and other wildlife, and we even saw a few elk and deer, even though they were too far away to put a sneak on.

We hiked, we sat and watched, and we hiked some more. When I shared my meager hunting knowledge, they actually listened. We didn’t get a chance to take any shots at anything, but I think the boys enjoyed our time out in the woods.

When we got home, they asked if we could go out again sometime soon. That was encouraging. I’ve never wanted to force them to go hunting, and I think I may have taken them with me the first few times when they were just too young. They haven’t taken me up on my offers to go with me for several years. But after last week’s hunt, I think that’ll change in the future.

They aren’t as knowledgeable about hunting as they’d be if they’d been hunting all their lives, but they’ll learn. And I’m a bit out of practice, myself, so we’ll all learn together. Maybe we can get some more experience this weekend.

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