THE BLOG

Should Young Children Learn to Hunt?

08/07/2015 09:24 EDT | Updated 08/07/2016 05:59 EDT
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Redneck. Hillbilly. Two terms commonly used for hunters. While some hunters may be from the back country not all are. More and more city dwellers are hitting the roads and exploring the countryside to harvest meat for their families.

Recently there has been a surge in women and young children, joining the ranks of hunters. It is refreshing to see new generations experiencing the sport of hunting.

Unfortunately, many people see the sport as barbaric or cruel. How could we teach our children, the brutality of killing? We must be creating monsters with all this blood and gore.

I'm here to tell you, from a woman's perspective, that showing children the sport of hunting is NOT barbaric or cruel.

My children have been hunting since they were in diapers. Tagging along with their dad even before they could walk. I was working and with a short hunting season, if my husband wanted to go, he had to take the kids. He would pack all of the gear he needed to hunt with, then he packed the diaper bags, snacks, toys and movies.

Tagging along with their dad, looking for deer, helped to instill a love of the sport in my children, especially my daughter. She is anxiously waiting for the time when she is old enough to hunt for herself. Until then, she tags along excitedly looking for deer and moose in the fields.

Most recently, the kids were along for the ride, when I shot my moose. As I crept round a bush into the field, they stayed in the truck, while my husband stayed nearby. The kids were able to watch the whole experience; from seeing the animal in the field, to the animal being field dressed.

A great thing about having them there while the animal was field dressed is that we can explain body parts to them and they can see the anatomy of an animal. They were full of questions and we were happy to answer them.

One of the biggest questions the kids asked that day was, happens to the guts? We explained that the stomach and various parts that are left behind from field dressing the animal would feed birds, coyotes and foxes. They were valuable nutrients for the other animals in the wild. The next day my daughter asked if we could go back to the field to see if the guts had indeed been eaten. We obliged and of course the kids were excited to see that nothing went to waste.

Now is this for every kid out there? Probably not. My kids have been seeing animal carcasses for years and asking questions about them, does it give them nightmares? No, simply because we do not make it out to be a scary situation. Showing kids where food comes from shouldn't be scary. It should be valuable information.

Involving children in the sport of hunting has many more pros than cons. They learn valuable skills that can be carried through life. They learn the values of providing food for themselves, where food comes from and most importantly they learn the cycle of life.

When shown proper skills and etiquette children can become courteous and respectful hunters and ensure future years of conservation.

Enjoy the Wild,

Joyce

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