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Teach a Kid to Hunt

Society is changing, and unfortunately so are families. Lately, it seems fewer families engage in activities together, and each family member pursues individual interests instead. After feeling like we needed more family time, my husband and I decided to make a change for our children. Since then, hunting and shooting have taken over our lives, and it feels so good knowing that we do these things as a family. It’s fun and meaningful to be able to create these memories with each other and share them with our children. Not only is hunting a fun hobby, but it carries with it lessons which can last a lifetime. Here are eight benefits of taking your kids hunting.

THE WHOLE FAMILY CAN PARTICIPATE
So many activities are one-sided. Having your own hobbies is healthy and normal, but there is something to be said for being able to load everyone up in the truck and hit the woods on a Saturday morning, hunting for a few hours, and then coming home and sharing our adventures over a hot breakfast. Aside from this, we all reap the rewards of hunting by sharing the food we provided for ourselves, and nothing is more awesome than that!

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IT BUILDS CHARACTER
Kids and adults alike need to be forced out of their comfort zone. We can all agree that when we are hot, cold, wet, tired, bored, hungry, muddy, need to pee, or getting eaten up by mosquitos, our character is tested. As parents, we get very caught up in trying to keep our kids comfortable, but there is nothing to learn by being comfortable all the time. We don’t just take the boys hunting when the weather is good, we take them when it flat out sucks, too. Over time, they have learned to acclimate, and they don’t complain much anymore. They embrace the suck and keep on keeping on.

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CHILDREN (AND EVERYONE ELSE) SHOULD UNDERSTAND WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM
Food doesn’t come from the grocery store. Common sense, right? Unfortunately, not for everyone. As the skin of Americans seems to grow thinner by the day, the most minuscule things are censored, including where our Sunday afternoon grill fare comes from. Hunting leaves no room for that. Our children see and help with the full process from start to finish: tracking, killing, gutting, skinning, butchering, and soaking the meat. Not only do our kids help us with processing deer, they help us with processing waterfowl by plucking the feathers and skinning the ducks, and when it comes to the beautiful veggies on their plate, they have often watched them grow and helped to pick them. Recognizing the hard work required to harvest foods of all kinds, reinforces gratitude and discourages wastefulness in all of us.

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IT TEACHES DELAYED GRATIFICATION
We live in a world of instant gratification. With the ability to keep a computer with internet access at our beck and call via the almighty smartphone, we are used to getting whatever we want–whenever we want it. So much is lost in not having to work for and wait for something. Children need to see and feel that hard work doesn’t always equal success when we want success. Success and failure are both inevitable in every aspect of life. Just because we have found a great spot, cultivated it, honed our shooting skills, and are sitting in that blind or stand on opening day does not mean we will punch a tag on opening day. Resiliency should never be underestimated. Which brings me to my next point…

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CHILDREN NEED TO SEE THEIR PARENTS SUCCEED… AND FAIL
There is not much else to say about this, other than we set the example for our children. They are always watching what we do and how we react to things. Showing them how to leave the woods after a bad day of hunting with a smile on your face and try again next time, is just as important as showing them how to harvest an animal with a humble and grateful heart.

IT’S A VALUABLE LIFE SKILL
While a lot of us never truly need to kill our own food, and while most of us have never had to defend ourselves or our family in our daily lives, there is something to be said for knowing how to if the need arises. Teaching our children these skills will only serve to benefit them throughout their lives, and hopefully, instill in them a sense of self-confidence.

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WE KEEP THIS PART OF OUR HERITAGE ALIVE BY GIVING IT TO A NEW GENERATION
The attack on the 2nd Amendment and all things it pertains to, including hunting, is alive and well. The key to keeping these rights and traditions going for years to come is passing the love we have for them down to our children.  Creating memories with our children in the outdoors whether through hunting or banging steel at 1,000 yards will stay with them for years to come.

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BECAUSE EXPERIENCES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS
Our society is so wrapped up in all of the “stuff” we can buy. Of course, we all enjoy having nice things, but life is about so much more than the latest and greatest iPhone. Someday, years from now, your kids likely won’t remember the time you bought them that action figure or a pack of Pokemon cards or that new Call of Duty game for their Xbox. What they WILL remember is the first time they walked fearfully through the dark with their hand in yours, climbed a tree by the light of the moon, and sat nervously, 20-feet off the ground, wondering what might be watching them from the inky depths of the forest. What they WILL remember, is that feeling of fear being replaced by total awe when they watched the woods wake up around them on a cool fall morning, with you sitting to their left.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynsey DavisLynsey Davis was born and raised in West Tennessee, where she spent most of her time on horseback. Her love of guns and hunting were sparked after marrying her long-time friend and high school sweetheart in 2006. Davis splits her time between shooting matches, hunting, and chasing after two rambunctious little boys. She is passionate about cooking and loves to incorporate wild game into her recipes. Davis is a contributor to North Carolina Bow Hunter Magazine. And, on top of all that- she’s a full-time student, finishing up a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science.


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