By Chelsea Cheff
The word hunter and the word mother have very different definitions. But what happens when you combine the two words? There’s more to that definition than just combining their two individual meanings. To me, a hunting mother means teaching my kids self-preservation, conservation, discipline, persistence and patience. At five and six years old, my kids are interested in seeing animals, eating the meat, practicing calls, and learning about the different types of animals we hunt. But at this point, they are not ready to go out in the “woods” just yet.
We hunt almost exclusively on public land. Most of our spots are at least an hour away from home, and require miles of hiking, hours of spot and stalk, and tracking in hopes of just seeing an animal. Not very kid friendly. Therefore, although they are excited to learn, they can’t actually participate.
However, when my husband and I go on hunting trips, they are still excited. The kids get to spend time with their grandparents and eagerly await our return. They know we may possibly bring home an animal for them look at, and tell them our stories! It’s a positive experience all around.
As parents, we must also remember that we need to nurture their interests and not always project our own onto them. We cannot give up on taking them out hunting or fishing, especially if they are willing to go. They might spend most of their time fooling around, but they are still outside enjoying nature, reinforcing the idea that the outdoors is an enjoyable place. A lot of people say hunting “is in your blood” and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. We always need to make sure we encourage new challenges and allow our children to grow. Most importantly, educate them on why we hunt and what hunting provides for our family, environment and wildlife.