How about take your daughter to the turkey blind, instead?
Last week was my chosen hunting period here in Minnesota for the spring wild turkey hunting season. In Minnesota, we must draw a permit for a selected 5–day hunting period to hunt turkeys. I’m going to be quite honest with you in saying the turkey hunting was largely unremarkable in terms of relating any success stories or having a great “what if” story.
Yet, what will likely be the most precious memory in my mind was taking my almost 4–y/o daughter with me to the blind. She begged me to go turkey hunting. Moreover, when we finally had to leave the blind to go back home she cried because she wanted to stay longer.
Needless to say she is excited about the outdoors and starting to develop the passion just like her “old man.” In fact, this week all she can talk about is heading “up north” on Friday for the Minnesota Fishing Opener which begins on Saturday.
I’m convinced we need to start these kids early to instill in them a love of the outdoors. In an age where children are bombarded with fancy toys, high-definition television, fast-paced video games and the like…the outdoors is in a competition for young minds like no previous generation has ever experienced.
It certainly behooves those of us as outdoorsmen to do our part to ensure the next generation has the opportunity to experience all the wonders of nature. To this day some of my fondest memories were those moments spent as a youth doing outdoor related activities. Let’s not deprive our children of those same great memories by failing to involve them in the activities we so dearly cherish.
I’ll be perfectly frank…taking a young child with a talkative, inquisitive personality to the turkey blind will likely not increase your chances for bagging game. That’s not the point. Unlike video games where a player can shoot a trophy animal every 5–10 minutes with some make-believe scenario…it’s important to show kids that REAL hunting is not all about killing.
Indeed, REAL hunting is about spending time (often with people you care deeply about) participating in an activity that should be as natural as anything else you could possibly do in life. Like it or not, kids tend to learn and develop who they will one day become based on watching those adults who make an impression on their lives. Again, I contend, if you leave a kid at home each time you go hunting or on a fishing trip…what sort of impression are you making?
If I don’t shoot another critter or catch another fish that would be perfectly fine so long as I am giving the kids in my life the opportunity to do the same. When you start living the hunt through the eyes of a youngster, you’ll quickly regain some of that invigorated excitement you once had as a youth learning about the outdoors.
Long before my daughter, Elsie, starts growing interested in boys…I want her first love to be deer, turkeys, walleyes, ducks, crappies, pheasants…well, I think you get the picture.
©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.