Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Having Kids Makes You a Better Hunter

As many of you can tell, I consider myself to be an avid outdoorsman... I also consider myself to be an avid family man.  When push comes to shove, there is no question where I would be opening morning of elk season if my family needed me I would be right at home.  As I wrote in an earlier post, I believe that the concept of finding a balance between hunting and spending time with your family is absolutely obscured and shouldn't even be debated let alone questioned by fathers and husbands.  Our families should ALWAYS get priority over hunting.

With that said,  I want to make myself clear that having a family does not neuter you from your desire to be in the outdoors.  I still think about hunting on a daily, and at times hourly, basis and I even have a countdown on my phone of when elk season is.  I have found that some people use the excuse of having a family to stop them from getting outdoors at all let a lone hunting.  This post will share with you some of the ways that I have found which proves that having kids actually makes you a better hunter! Enjoy :)

1) - Sleep -  Anyone who has (or has had) kids knows how important sleep is.  Anyone who has or has had a baby/young child also knows that solid nights of sleep can be hard to come by.  Between kids wanting daddy to scare away monsters to sick kids (or teething babies) keeping your up all night, kids really cut into your quality of sleep.  However this is a blessing when you are able to get away and go hunting especially when it is longer than just a day trip.  I know that for me, it doesn't matter if you put me right on top of a pile of lava rock, I would bet that I could sleep solidly through the night as long as a crying baby wasn't within hearing distance!  I have heard some hunters complain about how they slept horrible and couldn't get comfortable and therefore had a miserable hunt the next day.  My suggestion to them is to have a few kids and then they will sleep like a rock while hunting over night!

2) - Training - I have a few buddies who are quite committed to their off season training/workouts.  One buddy of mine throws on 100 pounds onto his pack frame and walks around up in the mountains to get his legs and endurance strengthened before hunting season.  Even though I may not get out as much as some of my other hunting buddies to "work out" in the mountains packing around 100+ pounds, my work out involves strapping a toddler into a child carry backpack and maneuvering through the woods. I try to get out as much as possible and I try to take my kids with me whenever I do.  Having a child carry backpack helps me train for hunting season by packing the weight of the child and their 100+ pounds of snacks, clothes, bottles, goodies, etc. that they have to bring... which leads me to my next point.
Archery Shoot with kids
My daughter zonked out during an archery shoot

3) - Preparation - When you have kids, you know that even a trip to the grocery store can turn into a disaster if you don't have certain items with you.  Because of this, even if you are only going across town, you have "the bag" that has everything you may EVER possible need plus a few extras just in case!  This helps you be a better hunter because you will now be in a habit to pack some items that you may have otherwise not even thought about.  Your hunting buddies will be more than happy to invite you to hunting camp because they know when you are around they will not have to result to less sophisticated ways of hygiene in those unanticipated situations.  Just like with kids, make sure these items are easily accessible in your back.  Also the snacks and goodies that you will tend to bring will often be a mixture between hunting food and "things laying around the house" which tend to be a bit more flavorful than some of the alternatives.  Between baby wipes and gold fish crackers, the items you randomly find in your vehicle may come in handy one day!

4) - Patience - Patience is KEY to hunting and to parenting.  Neither task goes well if patience is worn thin or wears out.  Kids, as cute as they are, will definitely teach you patience in NUMEROUS ways which will make your next spot and stalk seem like a walk in the park!

5) - Finding skills - Lets be honest.  You cannot be a mom or dad without decent finding skills.  When you have a two year old little girl who has a favorite ring that she got out of a quarter machine which she insists that she wear EVERY NIGHT to go to sleep.... yeah... you get pretty good at finding things.  Just like my daughter's favorite ring, which matches the color of our carpet quite well, many of the items I am looking for while hunting blend in quite well to their surroundings.  Learning to look for the smallest little clue that may lead you in the right direction will help you tremendously while hunting. 

6) - Sneakiness - I don't know if this one is just a personal item for my wife and I, but I feel that it has helped me be a better hunter while raising my kids.  It doesn't matter if it is sneaking ice cream into the house after going to the grocery store, sneaking out of the kids room after you finally got them to sleep, or sneaking a bite of their treat when they aren't looking... as a parent, you take your sneaking skill to a whole new level.  I have see a direct correlation between my skills at home and my skills in the mountains.  I look for the just the right moment when the animal looks the other way before I pull back or before I take another step closer. 

As much as this post is aimed at making people chuckle, I do feel that being a parent does help you be a better hunter.  Having a family and putting them first may mean that you sacrifice time you could spend outdoors to be with them, but the time with them is more than worth it.  Yeah you may not get out as much, kill the biggest deer/elk of the season, but you will be a provider in more ways than just putting meat in the freezer.  If the ONLY thing your kids/family needed was food then this may be a different story, but they need a dad and a father MUCH more than they need you to fill that tag this year.

If you have anything to add to this list or post, funny or serious, please make a comment below!
child and deer shed
These are the moments I get to enjoy now :)

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