Teaching Kids Bowhunting: Beyond the Bambi Myth

 

The smile on this young archers face warmed my heart.  I am very, very proud to have this tough, talented, and uh-may-zing boy as my nephew. And I guess wearing bad@ss t-shirts runs in the family. The smile on this young archers face warmed my heart. I am very, very proud to have this tough, talented, and uh-may-zing boy as my nephew. And I guess wearing hardcore t-shirts runs in the family.

 

It is our duty as patriots of this country, hunters, and the generation that leads the next, to teach children the importance of the outdoors, hunter education, and proper handling of firearms and archery equipment. We can’t rely on Disney’s Bambi to teach the importance and straight-forward story of hunting, gun ownership and archery.

And we can’t rely on the constant influx of video games and digital solitude to teach our children about the great outdoors.

So I pose the question: What are you doing to make a difference?

Risk vs. reward: buying a bow means taking a chance

At boy scouts last year my nephew shot a bow for the first time. It was a practice bow for beginners with no pins, no rest, and no release. Besides the plethora of hunting stories from Aunt Nicole, this was his first introduction to archery. And at the age of 11 he fell in love for the first time.

I decided to invest in a bow for my nephew. And he fell in love all over again.

But like most first and second loves, would it last?

He was very attentive at his first archery lesson. He followed directions, accepted constructive criticism, and was overjoyed to sling arrows at the deer target. He kept asking, “When I can I move back to 20 yards? How about 30 yards?”

We spent 4 hours at the range, taking breaks in-between shooting to learn about broadheads, arrows, and releases. His interest never failed.

“I LOVE this!” will be his words to me that I will never, ever forget.

After an hour drive home, napping the entire way, he jumped out of my truck to run and show his mom how to shoot at a target.

Allow archery to morph into hunting naturally

If you force me to eat beets, I will likely hate them. If you offer me beets, I might give them a taste, or at least poke them with my fork out of curiosity.

Likewise, never draft fresh blood with impulsivity into warriorhood. You must first equip him with tools to accomplish his endeavors. Second, you must encourage him to embrace the opportunities of his talents. Third, show him the warpath. Not least nor last, fully support his instinctual decision to go left or go right.

I will never ‘force’ my nephew to hunt. I will never set the expectation for myself, or for him, that he will become a hunter. My focus has been to share the fundamentals of archery, and help him develop an appreciation for his unique skill set —all through discipline, responsibility, and laughter.

He already shoots like Robin Hood, has DNA of warriors in his blood, and is the newest archer in the McClain family. What he chooses to do with that talent is a decision only his warrior spirit can determine.

I will admit it did make me smile when he asked about deer season. Did I mention he is also a lefty?

 

McClain Strong! So proud to be the Godmother and Aunt of this sharp shooter (and his shirt says it all). McClain Strong! So proud to be the Godmother and Aunt of this sharp shooter (and his shirt says it all).
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