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WHY WE HUNT
Young Thomas Goes Hunting On Opening Day
Why do you hunt?
When someone asks you why you hunt, what’s your response? There are most likely as many reasons as there are hunters. The more years you spend hunting, the more reasons you will have and they will change when you least expect it.
This past season Grammie and I introduced our grandson, Thomas, to deer hunting. We took him on his first hunt opening day afternoon. At the ripe old age of three, he fell right into the tradition.
We had spent a few weeks gathering items for him to put in his new backpack. Hunter orange cap & vest, grunt call, gloves, pull rope and deer drag (because Pops has one). With eyes bright, pointing fingers and questions galore, we settled into the stand for the afternoon.
The Sunday before we had practiced “talking quietly” and explained this would be how we should communicate while hunting, from the time we left the truck until we returned. It was a fun afternoon of “practicing”, the first couple of words would be his normal tone then he’d switch to the “quiet talk.” We’d laugh with him and then say, “Now you have to remember, we always use quiet talk when we’re hunting.” He’d smile and say, “OK.” The next time he’d start to say something it was more of the same, but he would always catch himself after the second or third word.
While in the stand, we found out that he had really been paying attention while we were practicing. He almost always used the “quiet talk”, for three whole hours. What we had forgotten to work on was unnecessary movement. All the pointing and movement was getting the attention of everything in the woods. As with most new hunters, improvement opportunities are endless.
We had found a large scrape on the way to the stand and stopped to explain to him how the buck had made it. The expression on his face was priceless. You could tell exactly what he was thinking …… the next time I peepee in Nanny’s yard, I’ll make a scrape too!
A few mornings later, while hunting from a different stand, Uncle Tim saw the buck that had made the scrape. He wasn’t able to get a shot at him that morning and it wasn’t seen again the entire season, proving that he didn’t get to be old by being dumb.
Thomas learned to use the binoculars, how to adjust them to best fit your eyes and how to locate a squirrel that you just saw run across the woods. If we all remember the first time we used these optics, whether it was a scoped rifle or binoculars, it is very difficult to see an animal with your eyes, then locate the same animal with the newest addition to your collection of hunting stuff. He picked it up really quickly and just as quick, he decided that Santa Claus needed to bring him his own pair.
We did not see any deer, but plenty of squirrels and birds. We spent a wonderful afternoon in the woods with the memory of a beautiful sunset added at the end.
We decided that we’d leave the choosing of the time of his next hunt up to him. We want it to be something that he enjoys and wants to do, not something we’re pushing on him.
This hunt with Thomas was about passing it on. Passing on the tradition to him is important and necessary, so that some day he will pass it on to his children and grandchildren. An afternoon like this ……. is exactly what makes our “Southern Comfort Zone” special to us!
See: Why We Hunt Part II (Thomas goes hunting again)