What a blessing it was to have been reared and introduced to hunting by a dad who did it right. He started me at the bottom, tagging along behind him and watching how he did it.
Squirrel hunting was how it began. As a little tyke, I’d sit on a log beside him and watched how he located and downed squirrels. Later, he felt I had gained enough experience that he let me pack along a little single shot .22 as we sat together. I made some mistakes for sure, miscues like squirming when I should have been still, whispering too loud, stepping on dry leaves or a stick that popped as the squirrel we were watching skedaddled.
Eventually I was able to master to a degree the art of hunting squirrels and later was introduced to hunting ducks down in the swamp. It was only after I had gained some confidence in hunting small game that hunting deer and turkeys became my passion and success I have had I attribute to the fact that my dad started me off the right way, at the bottom.
Last week, I ran across a Face Book post by friend and fellow hunter, John Brown, Jr., former videographer for the National Wild Turkey Federation. The point of Brown’s post had to do with teaching kids to do it the right way, exactly the way I learned.
Brown was talking with a friend who is a mature and wise hunter and was telling the friend about taking his own daughter hunting with him. The friend responded, “John, do you know why hunting is so important to us? Do you know why we love it so much, why we care for the animals we pursue? It’s because when we were young and learning to hunt, we developed a strong appreciation of simply seeing a deer. We went afield countless times without hearing a single turkey gobble, much less killing one. Nothing was guaranteed. And then he added….if you want her to be a lifelong hunter and gain a true understanding of why we must love and care for the animals we hunt, make it a challenge.”
Brown added, “As I hung up the phone I began to think about my own path to becoming a hunter. The more I reflected on my life as a hunter, the more what my friend had shared took on merit. Now think back about your own path and the role those challenges played in your development as a hunter. Did you begin with small game like squirrel and rabbit, or maybe doves? I firmly believe that these small game lessons are an important factor in one’s ability to successfully move to the next level. And it’s not just about learning the skills, it’s about doing so on your own and experiencing the trial and error that firmly plants within us the knowledge needed to advance.”
I also had Brown as guest on my radio program, Glynn Harris Outdoors on Sports Talk 99.3 and in plugging the program on Face Book, I had several comments from those reading my post that agree with how to get youngsters interested in hunting.
Some comments included one who said “As a beginner I didn’t really learn to love it until taking game was not the main focus; the scent of trees, the earth and seeing birds and animals. Some of my favorite hunts were those when I never fired a shot.” Another suggested “Stop hunting while they’re still having fun.” Another said “Make sure there is action; something to shoot. Deer hunting can be boring for kids.”
In today’s world with a plethora of activities in which our kids have the opportunity to partake, learning to hunt or even wanting to sometimes take a back seat. If our desire is to see the sport of hunting we love continuing into the years ahead, it is imperative that we instill in our youngsters that same desire that we find so special.
In his post, Brown summed it up with an expression of just how important it is to do it the right way. “I’m afraid,” Brown concludes, “that by bypassing these critical steps in the development of a hunter, we are harming our ability to create individuals who will become lifetime hunters.”
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing has been fair on crank baits, spinners and Rogues around tops fairly shallow. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. No reports on crappie or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream and bass are fair; crappie are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Best bets for crappie has been spider rigging jigs in the river lakes. The Crappie Masters tournament was won with 14 fish weighing an average of 2 pounds each, proof that the river has some big crappie. Bass are fair in the run-outs on shad imitations. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The lake level continues to drop with the drawdown underway. Look for best crappie fishing on the flats as the fish have moved from the channels to escape too much current in the channels. Jigs and shiners are picking up some fish. Bass are in the deeper portions of the old sloughs and have been best on soft plastics including drop-shot rigs. Bream have slowed while catfishing is good on cold worms or night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – The cool down accompanied by windy conditions has slowed down fishing in general. However, some crappie are still hanging out around the submerged tops in deeper water and hitting shiners or jigs. Bass fishing has been fair on a variety of lures but most of the fish are running rather small. Striper fishing has been fair trolling white bucktails or spoons. Catfishing has been fair tight-lining cold worms off the boat docks and piers. Bream are slow. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been fair to good this week with most caught on shaky tails and jigs along the edges of the channels. Schooling activity has slowed this week. Crappie fishing is fair around the deeper tops on shiners or jigs. Catfishing has been fair tightlining cold worms. Bream are slow to fair. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie are gradually starting to improve on shiners or jigs. Catfishing has been good on blood bait. Bass have been fair while bream are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Bass have been fair on topwaters early and late and soft plastics during the day. Catfishing is fair. Bream and crappie are slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is falling and fishing has improved. Catfishing has been good, bass are fair while crappie are slow to fair but some big slabs reported. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE BRUIN – Bass fishing has fair on soft plastics. Stripers are fair at night around lighted piers. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.