Hunting Kid

Hunting Kid

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      A sudden shake woke me up, it was my dad. “Better get some breakfast” he whispered to me. Morning had come quicker than I had expected. It had seemed like I had just closed my eyes, when in reality I had been sleeping for hours. It had been a restless sleep, due to my excitement. The moment I had been waiting for all of my six years, was finally going to happen!



     I jumped out of bed and put on my sweatshirt, a second pair of sweats and some oversized boot socks of dads. I tiptoed past my sleeping siblings and followed dad through the dark dining room of my grandparents house and then out into the garage. It was filled with the members of my family, all of whom would be embarking on the same adventure as me. They each were eating breakfast and so I sat down and had a quick bite before starting the tedious process of gearing up to go out into the cold. Minnesota cold is a bit more intense than most people ever get to experience, because of this I was required to put on a ridiculous number of layers followed by a snow suit and a blaze orange vest to top it off. By the time I was fully geared up I resembled a little blue and orange Michelin man.



     Deer stands were claimed and Dad had chosen the swamp stand for us. The swamp stand was an uncovered box stand in the middle of a little frozen marsh and it had just enough room for two people. We got a ride to the spot where we needed to hike from and as I began to follow my dad away from the vehicle into the night, I became suddenly aware of just how dark and cold it was. I made sure to keep up with dad and not lollygag even a little. I wanted to prove I was ready to be a hunter and was eager to not be a burden. I also had no desire to get left alone in the dark and icy cold marsh. The thought of that possibility gave me chills!  We got to the stand and Dad had me climb up first and then he followed me up and sat next to me.



     The seat in the stand was intended for full grown men and not little fellas, I couldn’t see over the side of the stand while sitting. Dad told me not to worry because it was still a half hour before legal shoot time. I sat and waited and it began to snow on us and became very cold, I was so warmly dressed that it didn’t bother me. As time went by my eyelids grew heavy and before long, I fell asleep.With a start, I woke up and realized it was bright outside! I looked over at my dad who was sitting and watching over the stand wall into the woods, alert for movement. He was wearing full body blaze orange bibs, but the orange was now barely visible beneath the snow that had fallen on him. My dad had a grin on his face and he asked "how was the nap?" I didn't want to answer him and I didn't have to because he must have noticed a look of embarrassment on my face. "Don't worry, no deer walked by while you were out" he said " and besides Ive fallen asleep before, on occasion." I was grateful for the encouragement, but doubted that he had ever fallen asleep while hunting, for as long as I felt that I had just been. I was disappointed in myself that I had slept because that’s not what a hunter does, so I decided to stand up to watch for deer the rest of the hunt. 


     We wouldn’t see any deer on that hunt or the next one, but I was proud to be a part of the experience. Why would such an uneventful and even embarrassing hunt, be such a tangible and unforgettable memory for me today? Its because I was a six year old boy and dad had chosen me to be his hunting partner! It was my first hunt! 



     As I would grow older, I would hunt a lot more and the memories and experiences I collected during these adventures have helped shape the man I am today.  Hunting was a major rite of passage for me, in entering a new level of responsibility and honor for my own self-identity. This memory contains also the subtle and yet important example of a father showing patience and love by bringing his young six year old son hunting, regardless of the extra work and care it required. His willingness to include me on the hunt gave me pride and instilled in me confidence in my own capabilities. This memory marks the moment that I became a hunting kid.


     This memory had come to mind after talking with a friend while duck hunting the other day. I had taken him to a location on public land that I had frequently hunted and that, I explained to him was a spot I often brought my kids hunting. This spiked his curiosity and we spent much of the hunt talking about the challenges and benefits of taking kids hunting. We also talked about how increasingly rare it is for kids to get the opportunity to learn about hunting and even fishing. The lessons I learned in these areas helped me learn self-reliance, patience, perseverance and the peace that being in Gods natural kingdom provides, even when life seems unsafe. The challenges I have been forced to traverse while hunting and fishing have realistically prepared me for the challenges I face in my day-to-day life. Every child should get the opportunity for these lessons. I learned them through hunting but the same lessons can be attained while being in nature no matter the event that gets you out there. Whether it be hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding or even bird watching I encourage us all to give our children the experiences they so desperately deserve.



     Give your kids the opportunity to be in nature! If you have trouble knowing where to start just click here. I will gladly put the work into getting you the information and resources you need to get your kids out into Gods great kingdom!


Genesis 27:1-4 ESV

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

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