Will Your Grandchildren Hunt?


Grandpa taking his grandkid upland hunting This is not only a question for the grandparents of today but for the next 2 generations that will be grandparents in say… 40 years.  Think back to when our forefathers came to this part of the country and to what it must have looked and been like.  Quite different from what we see today.  Rolling hills, pristine forests and rivers and a wide variety of wildlife that was to sustain the population that was coming to this new land.  Hunting was a way of life and was needed for the very survival of the general population.  Market hunters provided a wide variety of meat to cities across the country.  Americans were hungry for buffalo, elk, deer, waterfowl, small game and birds of many types

We still have time, but we must act soon as today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults, raising their own children and passing on to them important life lessons.  What can we do today to encourage and promote hunting and other outdoor activities?  Of course, today most states have a hunter education requirement for young people in order for them to obtain their hunting license.  We need to start at home, introducing our young people to the safe practice of gun handling, shooting and the ethical requirements needed to have a successful hunt or to have success in life.  Teaching young children, say age 7 or 8, about gun safety can begin with the purchase of a BB gun.  Set up a safe target shooting range in the basement of your home.  This can be easily done and can provide the basis for hours of fun and practice in becoming a safe and proficient shooter.  Taking kids out to the field when they are small for a short hunt, only an hour or two will help in getting them interested in the sport of hunting and the outdoors.  Let them take their BB gun and plink at safe paper targets or cans put on a log against a backstop.

Youth Turkey Hunting in Illinois Fathers and grandfathers used to take their children out to hunt with them in order to teach them how, where and when to hunt.  The care and preparation of the kill in the field, dressing, skinning and butchering were all part of the teaching/learning process.  These experiences taught future generations the skills needed to provide food for their families.  They also taught many other lessons, those of patience, respect, resourcefulness and a sense of sharing with others who perhaps did not have good luck in their pursuit of needed food.  .

As civilization has progressed of course the market hunters have now been replaced by large commercial factories that provide us with all of our needs for animal protein.  The need to hunt for survival or to put meat on the table is generally, no longer a necessity.

Today we find that fewer and fewer children are involved in the hunting process.  Many people, only 1 generation ago had ready access to land, as they had close relatives who still farmed and welcomed them to their places to hunt.  What will the next several generations be doing regarding the care and maintenance of our wildlife treasures?  Will they care? Will they even know or understand the enjoyment and thrill of hunting?  Not just the harvesting part, but the whole outdoor experience?  Who is going to teach them?  How are they going to learn patience, respect, resourcefulness and a sense of sharing with those less fortunate?

The main objective that you, as an adult should have been to allow your children to experience the pleasant aspects of hunting.  Don’t push them or force them to do something that they are not enjoying.  Taking them on a 4-hour forced march in bad weather is surely not going to be a good experience for them.  Take them to a target range for an hour or let them try shooting trap once every 2 weeks.  This is a great way to introduce children to the gun and to hitting moving targets, while at the same time teaching them about gun handling and safety.

Youth Hunters squirrel hunting

Schedule a stay at Heartland Lodge this fall with your spouse and children.  If you want to introduce them to our sporting clays course, we will be more than happy to show them the way to have success in shooting on the course.  Our staff will spend time to give helpful information and tips that can help teach the next generation of hunters the art of shooting.

Remember the time you spend with your children is valuable and you will find that it is time well spent.  My twin sons are now 40 and we still enjoy hunting together.  We have been doing it for 35 years now and we hope to do it for a long while to come.

Roger Keller

Last Updated: May 31st, 2024

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