As we all FINALLY make that trip out into the woods here in Oklahoma, I pray that we can all take a moment to truly appreciate everything that is around us. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful time of the year. The leaves are changing colors, the temperatures are dropping, and the holidays are near. What an amazing time to “disconnect” and enjoy the world around us.
It is pretty incredible to me that we are able to spend time in such beautiful country in pursuit of game. There is something about sitting 20 feet up in the air that truly brings out the beauty of the outdoors. One thing I enjoy doing while sitting in my tree stand is counting my blessings. When you are away from all the distractions and business of our everyday lives, it is a great time to stop and focus on all the things that are going RIGHT in your life.
If you haven’t had a chance to step outdoors yet this fall, I encourage you to do so. It is truly medicine to the soul.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
If you haven’t yet joined The Pope & Young Club, now is the time to do so!
“The Pope & Young Club has announced their 2015-16 “Ladies Only” membership drive.
All ladies joining the Pope & Young Club from now through March 2016 will be entered to win an Illinois Whitetail hunt with Midwest Trophy Outfitters. The drawing is open to all new female members that join before March 2016. www.pope-young.org Also – if you use the Special Code FB2015, the first 100 will receive a FREE Kuiu P&Y Cap!”
“The Pope and Young Club is one of North America’s leading bowhunting and conservation organizations.
If you are a fair chase, ethical bowhunter and you care about preserving the culture of bowhunting – you should be a member of the Pope & Young Club.”
“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.”
As a single mom, it is imperative that my daughter enjoy her time outdoors because we spend the majority of our free time outdoors. It has not always been easy getting her to look forward to a long, quiet sit in the woods, but we’ve gotten there over the years.
Here are a few things that have helped me over the years, and I hope they will help you as well:
- Include them in the WHOLE process. Bring your little one out with you throughout the year, not just during hunting season. Let them tag along while you prepare for the upcoming season. Bring them along for the scouting, ground preparation, hanging stands, setting blinds, etc. This will better prepare them for the upcoming season, and you will be surprised how keen their senses are once given a little guidance. My daughter has become an expert at scouting, and looks for tracks and signs of deer now, everywhere we walk. If they feel like they are part of eventually making the hunt successful, they will have a great sense of accomplishment when that first kill is made.
- During the off season, work with them on calling. One of our favorite things to do as a team is coyote hunt, and that’s a great opportunity to start her out calling. My daughter is so fascinated with calls, and her little face lights up when I allow her to use a call on her own. There have been many evenings that we sit outdoors and just work on calling. It is incredible when you are able to have your child call and have an animal respond. I can promise you, they will think it’s pretty neat also.
- Treat them as an equal. Suit them up just like you would yourself when heading outdoors. Give them their own set of binos, hunting pack, and gear them up just like they are preparing to go on their own. When they feel like they are a “real” hunter just like you, they will gain a whole new level of confidence.
- Pack SNACKS! I cannot stress this one enough. We all know how much our little ones like to snack, and I promise this will not change while we are in the woods. One thing I like to do to eliminate a lot of the noise is pre-package snacks in Ziploc bags. I try to think of snacks that won’t make a lot of noise, and something that will be high in protein to keep them full longer. Deer jerky is an absolute winner!
- Make it fun! Hunting is serious business, no doubt… but there is no reason it shouldn’t be fun. Think of fun and creative ways to keep their attention while out on a long sit. If you like to use face paint, ask them to do it for you! You may end up with a beard and hearts on your cheeks, but they will have a great time doing it, and it will be a great memory for them as well. If we are constantly telling them to be quiet, and reprimanding them for not having as much patience as us, I can promise you, they won’t be as eager to join you next time.
- Allow them to help you clean your/their kill. When my daughter got her first deer, her most exciting moments came after the hunt. As they grow up and venture out on their own, they are going to need to know how to gut and clean a deer on their own, so why not start them now? If you process at home like we do, allow them to help you with that as well. This will help them to understand WHY we hunt. They will know where the dinner came from, and feel accomplished having helped you every step of the way.
There will definitely be impatient sits, and times when you’ll wonder if you’ve scared away every deer in the woods, but I promise there is no greater feeling than being able to enjoy your time in the woods with your child. Knowing that you’re leaving behind a knowledge of the outdoors is something to be proud of, and after all, we are responsible for raising the next generation of hunters.