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Hunting With the Next Generation

Next Generation Hunter

Amanda StoffelsGrowing up, my dad loved to hunt and watch the animals follow their routine within the beautiful world God gave us. As I grew up he passed this love for nature on to me. These great experiences lead me to value a man who made hunting a priority in his life. Right before my husband and I tied the knot we settled our "prenuptial agreement."

There are two major seasons of the year:

  • August through February is Hunting Season

  • April through July is Fishing Season

My response, "Well, then what season is March?" He says, "I guess that will have to fall into WIFE season." I can live with that!

My husband and I heading out to hunt on Thanksgiving Day

As you can imagine, hunting is a major part of our marriage. Our children have been on the deer stand since in the womb, but when my husband introduced me to squirrel season, I asked him what he did with them. He replied with a very matter-of-fact tone, "We eat them, of course." The idea of hunting something that I had never experienced before in my childhood was unnerving at first. Even so, I was intrigued, as hunting is in my genes. 

Now that I have been hunting, cooking, and eating squirrel for eight years, it’s not a shock to me and I like it. I still get reactions from friends though when they ask me the common question, "What did you do this weekend?" and my response is, "Oh, I went squirrel hunting." Their faces are priceless. I don't take offense, as it was never a part of their childhood. Hunting has been a part of me from as young as I can remember. My childhood experiences shaped me into the outdoor loving, huntress, farmer that I am today.

Girls Day Out Hunting for the Big Squirrel

Now that my children are getting to the age of exploration I feel a heavy burden to show them the way of rural living, hunting, and God's great earth He has given us. This hunting season, my husband and I, have been able to pass on the same love for nature to our kids by taking the next generation hunting. My husband took the older kids, as our parents did, to the deer stand to observe nature in all her beauty. We also shared in the event of taking them squirrel hunting. It brings me great joy that when someone asks my 6-year-old daughter, "Do you like to hunt and eat squirrel?" Her response is a pure delightful smile and a hardy shake of the head, "YES!" My sons, 4 and 2, are so excited when Daddy lets them go on a "big hunt" to get the “BIG BUCK!"  I am honored that my children love outdoors and always seek out time to take part in nature.

My kids hunting with their grandpa

Our Thanksgiving Squirrel Hunt

I’ve been asked, "How do you get your kids to like the outdoors? I can't get mine to step foot outside!" TIME! If it wasn't for the time we spend with them hunting, fishingand camping, our kids would be looking to screens for their enjoyment. Sometimes my husband and I get tired, and we find ourselves spending more time with technology than our kids. When we realize this, we quickly step away from our screens, put down our phones, and explore nature around us. If it be a trip to the park in our neighborhood or a trip down to the farm, we try to step out into the vast adventure of nature. These adventures start by planting something, taking a walk-a-bout, building something, and the list goes on. ....

My daughter deer hunting with her DaddyHis first squirrel hunt at 2 years old

Our children, a part of the next generation, are just waiting to become hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen. After this holiday season and the start of the New Year, I hope that I make a point to ask myself often, "How can I teach my kids to love God and value His creation?" "What can I do to teach my part of the next generation to be hunters, fishermen and farmers?"

Here are some of the fun and inexpensive ways we enjoy nature here in Texas.

  • The natural grasslands in Decatur. We love to hunt and hike in the grasslands. My husband takes the kids up there to deer hunt as well as works the bird dogs for hunting. We have discovered some wild persimmon and plum trees there and plan to pick some in the spring. Who knows, we may find some wild blackberry vines in the process for berry picking.

  • Our local parks stock their ponds with trout and catfish every winter/spring for kid fishing. We have great memories of the kids catching the biggest trout or winning the smallest fish award.

  • Take a trip to the local farmer's market. Take a walk over to the nearest farmers market and support your local farmers and small businesses. Our farmers market has live music most weeks, expos where you can learn new skills, and activities like planting a flower for the little kids

  • Take a “walk-a-bout” the farm exploring the earth around us. We look for tracks, explore the terrain, and on good days run across a wild critter or two. 

  • We also love to head to the lake and fish. Getting out on the lake is one of our favorite pass times in order to beat the lovely Texas summer heat.

  • Last spring we had a science lesson on the parts of a plant where the kids planted a radish in a plastic container where they could see the roots grow down into the dirt. This was a very meaningful project for my daughter who had just finished kindergarten at the time. 

What activities am I missing? I would love to hear your activities or ideas as well.

nebraskadave
12/31/2013 9:54:09 AM

Amanda, pretty bold activities with children in this lovey-cuddly culture we live in today. Most people today don't understand that hunting is not just about the kill. In fact that's usually a small part of the experience. We went through a time here in Nebraska that the deer hunting was so curtailed that they started dying of black tongue disease. The wildlife management finally wised up and allowed more tags which eliminated the disease problem. I'm really not a hunter but do like fishing much more. Hunting is more active than fishing. Well, my kind of fishing that is. I take after my Dad in that I throw out the line and kick back with a nice drink or maybe take a nap until I see the rod bouncing or the clicker buzzing. Have a great outdoor/children day.