Lakecaster Online

WOMEN and THE OUTDOORS
By: Sue Crochet

I'd like to switch gears a little bit this month and talk about deer hunting … the 4-legged kind. Yes, I know I told you that fishing is and always will be my first love. However, I like the change of pace that hunting provides and deer hunting, which is the only hunting that I currently do, has a relatively short window of opportunity in the whole year. Besides, I have a special reason for making this the topic of my article.

Just like fishing, the sport of hunting is something that you can share and enjoy with your children. Also, like adults, not all kids like to fish, but those same kids may love to hunt. You'll never know until you give them the opportunity and just like fishing, this sport is much better for them than being idle. Idle hands mean idle minds and most of the time, this leads to trouble. There are many other advantages to getting a child involved in hunting … exercise, looking for "sign" and how to identify tracks, learning about gun safety, and just being outside in the fresh air. The best part is the quality time spent between child and parent.

My husband and I have been members of the Cow Pen Hunting Club in Dry Creek, LA for several years now. As on most leases, we have a weekend at the beginning of the season dedicated to youth. Nearly all of my brothers, sisters, and their spouses are also members. Several of my nieces and nephews have learned to hunt and have had the rare opportunity to take their first deer on our lease. We are a very close family and like many of the holidays that we spend together at home, these outings to the deer lease will leave a lasting impression on our children as they begin raising their own families.

This year, my youngest sister's 11-year-old daughter, Amanda Mercer, took her first deer … a 3-point buck. It was so funny to watch the expression on her face and how she used her body to tell the story of how the buck came out and changed positions many times before he gave her the chance to make a good shot. This was a special time between she and her father, Mike. He coached her through the entire thing … encouraging her to stay calm, put the crosshairs where they need to be, take a deep breath, and exhale slowly while pulling the trigger. She made a perfect shot!

I think everyone in the camp was more excited than she was and nick-named her "The Deer Slayer". Most importantly, the experience gave her a sense of pride and accomplishment that is lacking in many of our young people today. This sort of thing doesn't happen on its own! It takes a great deal of time and preparation, which requires sacrifice. Many parents won't take the time to assure that their children are involved in good, clean activities. There are tons of things that parents can do with their children that teach them about life, how to make good choices, and to have confidence in their ability to do things on their own.

Some of our grandchildren have already been in the deer blinds with us and now, a couple of them are old enough to begin teaching to shoot. It will be fun to see them hone their skills and take their first deer, but I'm mostly grateful that we are physically and financially able to do these things with them. Many years from now, they'll have fond memories and be able to share great stories about us with their own children and grandchildren. What a legacy!

I've mentioned before that there are children out there looking for mentors … someone who will spend quality time with them and teach them things they wouldn't get at home. If you're an avid hunter and would like to share your love of the outdoors with someone who will pass this wonderful sport down to future generations, take the time to "adopt" a child for just a few hours a week, or at least each month. I'm sure if you contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Tourist Bureau, they could assist you with the names of individuals or organizations who would appreciate your help. You will be blessed!

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