Hunting connects the generations

This week our Sports section includes a story on five female hunters getting their deer. We’ve always known women hunters were better than men - they’re certainly better at catching fish in our experience.
But what caught our attention was the generation to generation sharing of being out in the great outdoors. Hunting is much more than killing an animal. Look at the time spent hunting and the harvest is a small portion.
To see dads spending time with daughters and sons in the deer stand gives us hope for the future. It’s very likely these dads played the other role when they were young. Now they are doing as their father, mother or perhaps grandparent taught them. Patience, respect and safety in the woods are the key to success.
Deer camps provide the added experience of sharing meals, games of cards and even a hot sauna. Stories of the day in the woods are shared with old timers who smile at the excitement from a young hunter talking about the deer that appeared out of nowhere.
When Rep. David Dill was here with us, he spent a lot of energy trying to find ways to make sure young people are shown the wonders of the great outdoors. He pushed for new youth opportunities including in deer hunting.
A young hunter still needs a hunter safety certificate at age 12 to head out on their own. But thanks to David, legislation was passed to allow 10 and 11 year-olds to hunt deer with a parent or guardian. They have to be within an arm’s reach, but that’s almost always the case.
David knew this and one important fact: the younger kids are when they learn about hunting and fishing, the more likely it is to become a lifelong passion.
Seeing the excitement of a young boy or girl when they get that first deer can make you believe the sport of hunting is here to stay. The next generation is being connected each time a parent, guardian or even a family friend takes the time to show a young hunter the ways of the woods.
Identifying tracks in the snow, learning the laughing call of a pileated woodpecker or even how to field dress a deer, each may be common knowledge to the gray haired hunter but it’s an unknown world to be discovered by the young hunter.
Male or female, young or old, we’re going to have a better world when the cell phones are turned off, the video games are left at home and hunting can be a regular fall occurrence.