As fall is already upon us and the prospects of days in the field are beginning to flip our genetic switches that drive us outdoors, I am deeply frustrated. While those youngsters in my immediate presence are getting excited as to what the fall will bring, the majority of their peers are hidden and clueless of what awaits them outdoors.
As I stay true to my mission and vision, I capitalize on every opportunity to reach out to every kid, from the geeks to the jocks, boys and girls, the rich and the poor. As I begin to tell them about hunting, shooting, fishing, wildlife conservation and that they could be involved in all of those things, their eyes begin to light up and their imaginations run to places that they don’t even know or understand yet. They don’t realize that their reaction to the endless possibilities, opportunities and pure joy of being a hunter, shooter or trapper are genetically embedded in them and it is how they are designed as human beings.
What a moment, to see the unmistakable excitement and joy emerge from a young boy or girl at the thought of having an opportunity to participate in the outdoors, to watch that unstoppable smile on their face, only to be followed up by another unmistakable look, the look of disappointment and defeat.
That distraught wave of change in a child’s face and demeanor can only come from one place, their parent’s disapproval and rejection.
I now challenge all parents out there, if you are not an outdoors-men, for the sake of your child’s future and all that it holds, please don’t impose your own will on them and deny them an opportunity. Give them the option to explore firearms, archery, wildlife, hunting, fishing and all of the other things that go along with our great heritage. If not, then hiding your child from these things will create another narrow minded adult that knows little to nothing of the outdoors and it’s magic.