Hunting is part of our American heritage. However, if parents don’t take the time to introduce and encourage their children to hunt, the opportunity could disappear in your children’s lifetime.
Don’t believe me? Many hunting blogs and associations are singing this same song: Hunting is declining across America.
Fewer Hunters in America
A headline in an Illinois newspaper shouts, “Declining Numbers in Illinois Could Put Hunters on ‘Endangered Species List‘.” I’ll spend time in a future blog explaining why this will be a serious financial, political and lifestyle change that will have huge implications. However, today I’d like to concentrate on ‘getting kids interested in hunting.’
Why Hunting and Fishing Matter
Going hunting is great exercise. It just might be your child’s first experience in smog-free air!
Since they will soon be the stewards of our country, it is important for them to understand why we need to preserve animals’ habitat. They only learn that we don’t need another strip mall by experiencing the beauty of their natural surroundings.
Kids don’t learn these niceties from books or videos. They learn the importance of nature from people who already have a reverence for vast spaces of natural beauty. Generally, they get this knowledge from their parents, grandparents and/or extended family.
As a therapist, I know that hunting gives parent and child an opportunity to spend large blocks of time together. They learn anew of each other’s uniqueness. It often is a bridge to sharing – with few distractions (cell phones, etc., usually don’t work in sparsely populated areas).
Kids Crave Their Parents’ Attention
One of the things youngsters complain most about their parents is: they feel their parents are too busy for them. With a slower pace and more time, parents and children can both feel they are heard. As a parent, you know that it is a great feeling to share your knowledge of tracking wild animals, teaching survival skills and showing that you are smarter than most of the parents on television!
Hunting Teaches Responsibility
Taking children hunting is a fantastic way to teach responsibility. Kids learn they have to earn the privilege of taking up arms – by taking hunting safety courses, learning to shoot and proving their understanding of the seriousness of carrying lethal arms.
Too often, kids get a “pass” from doing something hard or uninteresting or complicated because they are “cute,” “in sports” or their parents are Mr. and Mrs. So-And-So. This is not good training for life.
Because hunting requires youngsters to prove competency before getting privileges, it trains them to know they have to give something before they get something. Generally, I find kids who are hunters to be more mature than other youngsters their ages!
In our family, we have a rule: We eat what we kill. This taught our youngsters not to take aim at wild things they don’t want to eat. Our son went through a phase in which he wanted to shoot birds.
I told him that it was OK as long as he ate everything he killed. Having to eat his first bird, an old robin, cured him of wanting to shoot any more birds!
Our Children as a New Generation of Teddy Roosevelts
Taking kids hunting is a great way to teach conservation – the need to preserve what we have for future generations. Since Teddy Roosevelt is gone, who else will protect our hunting and fishing lands? We must train our children – girls and boys – to be the conservators of the future.
Feedback: We have younger adult readers who may not know how and when to get their kids interested in hunting. Will you please share your expertise?
I’d like to hear when you started taking your children hunting.
How did you get your kids interested in hunting?
What did your kids hunt first?
A very, very Happy Birthday to our Son, Chris!
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com