Spending time with someone else, and watching them take a shot at a buck, is just as exciting for the watcher as for the shooter.

It’s long been said that turkey hunting is a one-man game, and that, for the most part, is true. Hunts can be shared by people who hunt alone but share the trip with someone else.

FAMILIES + CHILDREN

More families than ever before have come to share their hunts. My wife, Kay, once shared a successful bow hunt with three grandchildren. The youngest was still sucking on a bottle, and Kay had the kids all seated in an elevated coop.

Look,” she whispered, “there is a nice buck. Sit real still, don’t move around and don’t make a sound. Grandma will see if she can shoot it.

She eased the elevated coop window open, made sure all the kids could see without moving around, and waited for the buck to walk in. It stepped into her shooting area, and was slightly quartering-away, and Kay waited for the near-side front leg to move forward before drawing and shooting.

The buck ran off, and Eric who has eyes like an eagle at the ages of four, said: “You got him, Gram, you shot him right in the heart. Let’s go find him.

She got all three kids safely to the ground, went back up, lowered her bow and quiver of arrows to the ground, and began following the Game Tracker string. She had to rein in the kids to keep them from running ahead and getting tangled in the line.

It was starting to get dark in the woods, and she took the kids back to the car. She knew the deer was dead, and soon her daughter Nancy, and son-in-law Roger, and I, arrived.

The kids were right into it. We¬† quickly found the dead buck, and set about field-dressing it. The girls stood and watched as the entrails came out, and when I held up the heart, Eric blurted: “I told you, Gram, right through the heart.

The youngest of these kids was about two years old at the time, and it didn’t gross them out. They probably would have helped with the field dressing but we didn’t want them to get bloody for fear some well-meaning person might have thought we’d been beating them. They probably wouldn’t have understood taking the kids out hunting either.

BOW HUNTING: TEACHING LIFE LESSONS

Children must learn to have patience, and it is a necessary part of a bow hunt. Most kids, especially those who do not hunt, have a patience level of seven or eight minutes — the time between television commercials. That type of patience won’t work in a deer stand.

Kids must learn to sit still, and to remain silent. They can learn what an adrenalin rush feels like when Dad, Mom or Gram takes a shot. They learn, first-hand, that hunters always try to kill cleanly and quickly, and utilize the flesh of this animal for the nourishment of their body.

SIX POINTS OF LEARNING THROUGH BOW HUNTING

  • Adults can get their children into shooting a bow. Never give a kid a hand-me-down adult bow that is too long for them. Shop around to find a short-draw bow that will work fine for two or three years. Make certain the draw-weight isn’t too much for the child to pull.
  • Teach them how and when to shoot, and how to read deer sign in the sand, snow or mud. Show then how to determine wind direction, and why it is so important to be downwind of deer.
  • Show children what a broadside and quartering-away shot looks like and coach them that these are high-percentage shots. Show them which shots should not be taken and why they seldom Sproduce a killing shot.
  • Teach them respect for the animals we hunt and the property of others. Allow them to learn to read the body language of a deer, and how the animals will react when danger threatens.
  • Take them out when preseason scouting during the next month, and take them out once the season opens. Teach them tree stand safety, how to use a full-body safety harness, and how to stay safe in an elevated stand or tree stand.
  • Most of all, talk to them afterward. Listen to their stories, and share yours with them, and give up your time to sit with them if they are not 17 years of age. Be supportive of their efforts, and install a sense of needing to practice to avoid having to make a long trailing job on a poorly hit deer.

Take children hunting this fall or winter. Show them. Teach them, laugh with them and be proud of them and hold them if they cry over their first deer kill. Give of yourself, and that giving will be returned ten-fold in the years to come.

Tags: Dave Richey, outdoors, Michigan, hunt, hunting, bow hunting, bows, deer, deer hunting, autumn, teaching, outdoor learning, wilderness learning, elevated stand,

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