Had the pleasure of speaking at a local Rotary Club recently. Talking to people about hunting and fishing and general outdoors, who pays for conservation, and tips and tactics to be more successful. That is what I do for a living so I enjoyed the time very much and was thankful for the opportunity. Besides, the free lunch was terrific.
Anyway, my own personal time limit for a Rotary Club or speaking engagement is 21 minutes so I didn’t get to pass along my recommendation for a hidden lesson for the attendees’ children and grandchildren. So here we go. Stick with me now, this is better and longer lasting than any fishing or hunting tip I can mention.
All youngsters need something to “hang their hat on” so to speak, something that joins them to a large group or even just close friends, something about which they can be rightfully proud, even knowing more and doing more than classmates or friends. One can be the high school quarterback or homecoming queen or even school valedictorian. All those are excellent achievements, but did you notice the word “one?”
So, I offer the following: Teach your offspring, and even the kid down the street with a dad who is not an outdoors man, or doesn’t even live at home, about fishing and hunting and the wonder of the outdoors. It’s unlikely that a single mom can provide the outdoor experience. My grandson could have played high school football and baseball, as I did, but wouldn’t because it was Whitetail hunting season in the fall and turkey season in the spring. If he had, those sports would now be distant pasts but hunting seasons, and his avid participation in them, still exists every year. Matter of fact, he’s a full-time year-round hunting guide and cattleman in Oklahoma, as we speak, at age 30.
Please, you and your sons or daughters go fishing. Not necessarily for largemouth bass or stripers on a major reservoir, just make it bream at a local state park or neighborhood pond. It doesn’t have to be Whitetails out of a tower stand over a food plot, it can be squirrels or any other critter with a liberal limit. Get in lots of sightings and shots, or even no shots, doesn’t matter. It can be just a gentle walk in the woods just the two of you listening for the sounds and sights that their other classmates never hear or see.
Some family units may respond to this column by replying that they take their children to baseball and football games from high school level all the way to professional sports. That’s good. Stick with it, but, be reminded that you’re with 10,000 to 50,000 other people. If you hunt or fish, it’s just the two of you building singular memories that will last a lifetime.
I am very fortunate to have fished and hunted with my two grandfathers and I cherish those times and wish I had photos of those days spent together. Those days I’ll never forget.
Can your son or daughter be proud of being an outdoors man or woman? You bet they can and will be able to enjoy the activity and knowledge the rest of their lives.