By Matthew Stoffel
Few things let us escape into the natural world like hunting – whether for pheasants, ducks or deer. Hunters recount moments of full immersion into their environment on these excursions. The mix of tranquility and excitement a single outing can bring is hard to match, and here at The Outdoor Campus, it’s an experience we hope you’ll share with your kids.
Here are five things hunting can teach children.
1. Just like fishing, a hunter needs to be patient – showing a mature resolve to wait and even be content on those days they return empty-handed. Add onto that the extreme care and responsibility needed for a child to safely handle a firearm, and you have a great opportunity to teach some daily virtues.
2. Hunting has wide-reaching social implications. Learning to network with other hunters about where animals are and asking landowners for permission to hunt can also foster valuable people skills. It also gives people something to talk about and bond over. At the same time, hunting can be a great way to spend some thoughtful time alone.
3. Learning about hunting is learning about tradition: the tradition of a culture, a family or even the human race in general. Beyond teaching a child about the value of that tradition, they’re learning about the balance of life and death. This cultivates an understanding of respect – for their history, for the animals and, hopefully, even for their teacher.
4. Walking through the woods, lugging equipment, staying crouched in a field – any of it is better than sinking into your couch cushions. Hunting is a great way to get outside and move around. Even on lighter days, you might feel the incentive to stay in shape with other workouts to make hunting more enjoyable. Either way, hunting is an excellent fitness motivator.
5. Of course, a lesson on hunting wouldn’t be complete until your child understands why we claim a number of game animals. Beyond adding a bit of meat on the table or in the freezer, teaching kids about population control and how hunting tends the land is an important step in cultivating the conservationists who will be taking care of our fields and forests in the years to come.