• Kenneth Kieser: Why teach your kids to hunt?

  • Writing this article prompted a great deal of thought. How important is hunting – especially for youth?

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  • Writing this article prompted a great deal of thought. How important is hunting – especially for youth?
    I believe that our youth have peer pressure at school like never before. Activities outside of school are important for children, especially those having a hard time. Before we go any further, remember that hunting is not for every child. These tips are for those who want to try. So here are some important facts about hunting to discuss with your child:
    Conservation is an important part of hunting. I interviewed Ted Nugent many years ago. He asked, “Have you noticed how many fur bearers you see dead on highways these days? This is because the price of furs is down and most people no longer trap or run hounds. That is a great waste of fur for warmth and food in a country where many are hungry and cold.”
    Not hunting wastes many valuable resources. Wildlife is excellent fare. Hunting is a conservation tool in reducing wildlife numbers through harvest. So should you teach your children to hunt? Kids should learn to hunt for the experience. Hunting is a great deal more than killing, but killing is involved so how do you explain that to your kids?
    I highly recommend that a child's first hunting should be edible game and include them in the experience. Let them help you cut up the meat and then show them how to prepare it. Teaching a kid the importance of eating what they shoot is the beginning to a good sense of purpose in hunting.
    Safety first, however. Before you treat kids to this great outdoor experience, enroll them in a hunter safety class. Then take them to a target range and provide many hours experience target practicing.
    I served as a hunter education instructor in Missouri for three years. We taught kids and adults to point a gun in a safe direction before checking to see if it was loaded.
    You would be surprised how many kids and adults said to first check to see if the gun was loaded. Who knows where they pointed the barrel while opening the breech.
    We discussed sight planes, controlling a firearm at all times and the many other facets of gun safety. But more importantly, we discussed the freedom to own a firearm. Many countries don't have that luxury.
    After practicing until your kids are comfortable with firearms, try hunting. This turn will teach them a great deal about themselves. I still remember the first time I walked through a woodlot by myself. I carried a 4.10 shotgun and three shells. I was challenged to bring home three squirrels and/or rabbits.
    I brought home a rabbit and squirrel, feeling mighty pleased with myself. My grandfather explained to me the meaning of that one missed shot.
    Page 2 of 2 - “During the Depression we could not afford to waste ammunition,” he said. “Every shot meant feeding a family member. That was important, but it also meant a clean kill on every animal or bird you shot at. In other words, a kill shot provided a meal. A wounded animal suffered until the wound or other wildlife killed it. I think too much of the game I hunt to provide this horrible ending – and so should you!”
    I never forgot Grandpa's words spoken to me 40 some years ago. I agree and have told many that the all-important one-shot kill is accomplished by being familiar with your firearm and knowing how to shoot it.
    Hunting teaches responsibility. Maturity is gained by learning and practicing safety. Next comes the skills of tracking, using game calls, learning to hunt with the wind blowing in your face, shooting when the time is right and a thousand more things. Many of these lessons can be learned by experience.
    So why teach your boys or girls to hunt? To show them another world outside their computers. Share a beautiful fall woodlot instead of playing computer games. Introduce them to a fall duck blind instead of hanging around a shopping center. Let them hear an approaching gobbling turkey instead of joining a gang. Let them feel snow hit their cold cheeks while stomping out brush piles for rabbits instead of trying their first taste of marijuana or some other illegal drug.
    The importance of hunting cannot be ignored. Take that kid hunting. He or she will thank you later or they may never want to go again. Let them decide!

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