Editor’s Note: Why do parents take their children hunting? What is there about hunting that makes this outdoor sport worthy of perpetuating and passing it on to future generations? Here’s Roy Franklin’s answer.
My dad took me hunting at an early age. I loved being with my dad in the woods, so much that I knew if I ever had a son, he’d better learn to love hunting as much as I did, because I was going to take him every chance I got. I am fortunate that my son, Clay, really enjoys hunting with me as much as I enjoyed hunting with my dad. Also, I enjoy teaching him what I learned from my dad about the outdoors. I’m trying to teach him deer management and how to take an ethical shot that puts the game down quickly. I don’t feel comfortable having Clay in the tree stand with me, but other than that he and I are always in the woods together. Luckily, the last few years I’ve been able to tag my buck during bow season. Then, I have youth season and modern gun season to spend with Clay.
We got Clay a bow in 2013. This year, I plan to teach him to bowhunt. I’m hoping he’ll be able to take his first deer with a bow in the 2014 deer season. Clay and I hunt squirrels, geese, deer and turkeys together. We spend at least 30 days in the woods together each hunting season. I like getting Clay away from the Xbox and the television set. If given the choice of staying home with the Xbox or going hunting, Clay will choose hunting.
Clay and I both like to wear Mossy Oak Obsession during turkey season, and I wear Obsession during bow season. But during the fall, when the leaves are off the tress, we wear Break-Up. Most of the time Clay and I hunt out of an Ameristep Doghouse popup blind, which makes hunting with youngsters much easier and fun. In the blind, we both have our own seats to sit in, but the most-essential part of our blind equipment is a big bag of snacks. I also carry shooting sticks to rest Clay’s gun on, so he has a steady rest to take the shot. I let him bring a portable electronic game for any slack time we have in the blind. Clay has his own binoculars. I believe that the more time I can spend with Clay in the outdoors, the better adult he’ll be when he grows up. I’m hoping that he has a son or daughter one day that he’ll be able to take hunting with him. I guarantee that I will take my grandchildren hunting, when my children are grown and have their own families. I really enjoy the conversations that Clay and I have. I totally believe the old saying, “It’s not the deer or the turkey, I’m trying to get close to but my child.” We have some of the best family time and make the most memories when we’re together on a hunt, just like I did, when I hunted with my dad. I think that we can reconnect with our own hunting heritage and our family, when we take our youngsters hunting. I genuinely like being with Clay. He’s my favorite hunting partner.