You know, we talk a lot about passing along knowledge and appreciation to the next generation of anglers. Well, I believe the same principle applies to hunting.
Oklahoma’s deer season opened Oct. 1 but Kansas opened in September, so I went up there with my daughters this past weekend. We got up in the tree stands for a while, but this was mostly a family work trip.
I got to thinking that every year when I bring my daughters out to Kansas to hunt it’s pretty expensive. I pay for their tag, I pay for their license, which are things I want to do, but this year I did something different.
In years past, I got everything done, the kids showed up, got in the stands, they’d see a bunch of deer and a lot of times they’d kill deer that many adults would like to kill. I’m always happy for them, but I decided that they needed to see the amount of work that it takes to make a good hunt possible.
So, we worked all day Saturday and all day Sunday. I’m not going to lie, I worked their tails off. They cleared brush and helped me move deer stands for better wind direction, more concealment and greater mobility. I’ll tell you, they were spent after it was over.
We had breakfast together and we’d stop to get lunch and dinner, but we put in long days. I asked them Sunday night if they were glad it was over and they were like, “Yeah, that was a lot of work.”
My response was: “That’s something I do every year, so you guys have a good hunt. I just want you to appreciate how much work that takes.”
They said they appreciated it, and I’m seeing more and more that it’s all sinking in. For example, a lot of girls don’t know the difference between a buck and a doe, but one evening we watched a group of deer come out into the field and my daughter Ana said, “That doe has her tail down; there’s probably another deer behind her.”
I thought to myself, there’s not a lot people that know that, but they’ve heard me say things like that a lot in a tree stand. They may not grasp it all, but they have the basic knowledge to go out there and have a good hunt.
But that’s what’s cool about hunting and fishing — you don’t have to be the best hunter or the best fisherman to catch the biggest bass or harvest the biggest deer. Anybody could catch a record fish and anybody could kill a trophy deer. It just takes that lucky day or that lucky cast.
When it comes to my family’s hunting tradition I want them to not only like the sport, but also appreciate what it’s about for me. It’s about getting away, being outside and enjoying the moment.
A lot of the most memorable deer hunts I’ve been on were ones where nothing was harvested. They were times where we had a good time with family. Those are the things I want them to appreciate and remember.
It’s nice when one of us harvests a deer, but that’s not the reason we do what we do.