Passing the Torch
If it wasn’t for my dad getting me into the outdoors all of those years ago, who knows if it would have caught me like it did. Some people are just naturally drawn to hunting and fishing for one reason or the other, but it is my understanding that most of us were introduced by some type of mentor. Whether it was a father, other family member, or a best friend is irrelevant. What is relevant is that, whoever it was, took the time to light the way for us and pass on the tradition. They are the ones that showed us how to do things like bait a hook or recognize a deer track. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck wasn’t born just knowing how to do these things.
As much as we want our kids to jump into the outdoors and love it just as much as us, many times this is not the case. For this reason, I think it is best to start out small. Don’t take them on a backcountry elk hunt right out of the gate. You might lose them forever with a painful journey like that. Get them out for a fun morning or evening of fishing. Something with a high success rate like bluegills, trout, or catfish. Fishing for these species doesn’t have to get that involved. You can get away with using a bobber with these fish, which adds to the excitement with the visual part of actually being able to see the bobber go under when they get a bite.
As far as hunting goes, my dad used to take me out with him dove hunting. I acted as his bird dog. It was fun when I was a kid to go run out and grab my dad’s birds for him. Another fun thing to do is to take them shed hunting. You don’t have to worry about being quite and can just have a nice time hiking around looking for antlers. Who knows, they might even get to see some deer or elk out there, which is surely to grab them hook, line, and sinker.
If they don’t right away share the same love that you do for the outdoors, don’t worry. These things take time. Most kids, from what I have seen, end up loving it though. The excitement on a child’s face when they catch a fish or spot a deer is priceless. These are the memories that will live with them forever and hopefully end up having them “pass the torch” themselves.
In a world where it seems like more and more kids are choosing to stay inside and play video games rather than going outside to play, I feel like it is more important than ever that we take on the role of mentor. If you have kids and are an outdoorsman, get them out there! Who cares if you don’t shoot as many birds or catch as many fish as you normally would. If you are worried about that, you are missing the point of all of this. It is our duty as sportsman to pass on the traditions that we hold so dear, so they will continue to thrive. Teach youngsters about the importance that hunting and fishing has on wildlife conservation. Without taking action like this, our ways of life will continue to dwindle, which is heartbreaking.