Outdoor Obsession: A Family Affair
Obsessing over the outdoors is something we come by naturally. My brother and I got our passion for the outdoors from our father, and his father before him, and so on. Some of the earliest and best memories in my young life were that of spending time with my dad or grandfather in the outdoors. It feels like almost as soon as I could walk I was spending time with one of them in the woods or on the streams. These were the men who taught me to shoot a gun, to cast a line, to hunt and to trap. It is not an exaggeration to say that my father and brother are my best friends in life, and we are tremendously close by sharing our outdoor obsession. Beyond them, I've hunted and fished with uncles, cousins, and friends as a part of my upbringing.
More than the fish and wildlife we harvested, it was the lessons that I learned that have had a formative impact on my life. Some of the lessons were verbal, but many of them were learned behaviour from watching their lives and attitudes out in the wilderness. I was taught to respect and appreciate the wildlife I chase through the days spent in the field with them. Being thankful for the successes and even just the experience itself. I also learned to obey the laws and respect landowners from hunting with them. More than just lessons about hunting and fishing, these things have carried over into the rest of my life. I've grown to be the man I am today by those days spent outdoors with them. And one of the best part of being involved in outdoor sports is that I can always keep learning. I learn more about the animals and lessons from those I hunt with, and you will hear more about these times often on the pages of this site.
Now that I've grown and have a family, I've gained another role in the outdoor obsession: that of being the teacher in addition to being the student. Now I take my son hunting with me and pass it on to another generation. Every minute I spend with him in the wilderness is a teaching opportunity and a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime like those with my father and grandfather. This spring, I was privileged enough to go on a guided turkey hunt with my father and my son in Maine (and of course with my brother as well). Three generations of hunting family on the same hunt. Although we didn't harvest a turkey, we were successful in other ways through the experience and the memories. My son is growing to be a thoughtful, respectful young man, and part of that is from the times afield.
I wouldn't give up the time in the wilderness with any of them for any amount of money in the world. Take a look around the next hunting related meeting you attend. If your area is anything like ours, it is likely the majority of the ones around you are grey-haired. If our passion is to continue, we must pass along our obsession to the next generation. Set time aside to take your child, your neighbour, friend, or co-worker out to the woods with you and teach them these lessons. Live it out, and pass it on!
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