To many sportsmen, hunting and your family are two of the most important things in your life. I am no different, work is just a thing I have to do five or more days a week that pays the bills and allows me to afford to do activities like hunting with my family. If I could hunt for a living and maybe throw fishing in there as well to take up the spring and summer months, I would probably feel differently about my job. Hunting can be hard, it can be very tiring, and extremely mentally challenging, but for those hours you spend sitting in a treestand, duck blind, up against a tree, or spot and stalking just waiting to see the first animal of that day no matter what type or species, all those thoughts fade away. When you take that trophy, whether it is a doe or buck or whatever animal you are after, all that hard work is completely worth it and forgotten about, which in turn makes your desire to return to the woods even higher.
Well, all those thoughts and opinions about hunting and how you feel about it are tenfold when you share the outdoors with friends, or your family. I can say some the best times during my childhood were spent either fishing or sitting in the woods deer hunting with my father. In my early years, after getting a good grasp on hunting with a bow for deer in Maryland, I enjoyed hunting with my father so much that I grew an interest in getting others involved. This interest led me to help teach hunter education. I was too young to become a hunter education instructor at the time, so this was my way of helping others into the sport of hunting. Later, I had to get a full time job and had less if any time of my own to hunt, so I had to give this up.
Well, as time went on sharing those things and teaching them to the next generation is not only important to the outdoor sports that we all know and love, but it will build a very strong relationship with those you share your passion with. As I have gotten older, I have grown a stronger passion for getting others involved in the outdoors and enjoy sharing my knowledge with them and teaching them the ways of the outdoors. In more recent years, as I regained my schedule back allowing me to be able to have the time to go hunting myself, I have showed a good friend of mine the art and enjoyment of bow hunting the whitetail deer in Maryland. He was a seasoned hunter that grew up in the mountains of Colorado, but had never shot a bow in his life. He happens to be very close in size to me so I lent him an older bow of mine and allowed him to try shooting for a while to see if it was something he wanted to try. Well, after some time shooting, he decided that he really liked it and he got a new bow of his own which I helped him set up and tuned. I took him out hunting one evening late in September in an area I normally hunt and see deer regularly. That very first evening he shot a spike buck, the first deer he saw and he took a nice quartering away shot and the deer ran about 50 yards. Needless to say, he has been hooked ever since. I now have him exploring muzzleloaders to see if that is something that would interest him in the future.
I also recently got married and am working on teaching my wife how shoot a bow and hopefully either this season or next she will start going hunting with me as well. You will see her articles about her process of learning to bow hunt and what she thinks about it periodically here on the site, as well as her opinions on the products she uses.
One day I hope to have kids and be able to pass my passion for hunting down to them as well and share my knowledge and experiences to give them something to look forward to doing with both my wife and I.
When I was working fulltime as bow tech, I funny enough did not get much time to go hunting (after all this would be my busy season). Even though I didn’t, I felt like I was when I was sharing stories and on numerous occasions got invited to go with others. To fill the void of not being able to take someone hunting and the lack of spending time in the woods myself, I started sharing stories, helped others become more successful in their hunts, and also spent some time talking to some folks who work to preserve the right to hunt, the image of hunting and the lands we hunt on. After talking to these folks, it made me understand even more how important it is to get others involved in the sport I know and love. As well as to teach those that do get involved to follow the rules and do everything safely, ethically, and legally.
I know the title of the article is hunting with family and friends, but also remember maybe someone you know that does not hunt and does not want to hunt has a son or daughter that might like to try. Offer to take them with you once and if they like it, maybe they can join you or your family in your outings. This is something a child will never forget, and when they get their first trophy, the excitement they will have is priceless. Maybe it is not a friend or family member; either way share your passion with those who are open to the sport no matter who they are. In the end, you will not only make new friends, bring family and current friends closer to you, but you will let someone experience something new and make memories that will last a lifetime for both of you. You will also help to protect the sport of hunting, and by showing them the proper way to do things you will be improving the image of hunting.
One thing to always remember, if someone does not like hunting or is against hunting do not ever pressure them into liking the sport. Pressuring or arguing with someone who does not want to hunt or is against hunting will only make them feel more strongly about the subject and make hunting look worse. So even if you do not agree, just say thank you for your opinion. But remember the best way to win people over who are against hunting is to hunt ethically, safely, legally, and responsibly so that you do your best to promote a health image for the sport. You may never change their mind, but those who are not sure about the sport will be far more likely to agree with the sport rather than be totally against it.
I know these are my thoughts and I know there are lots of people that will feel similarly. They will understand what I am talking about, but please leave a comment and share your opinions on it and how you feel about getting others involved. What ways do you share your passion for hunting with others without offending them?
Remember, take a family or friend hunting IF THEY WANT TO GO, and never pressure them into going if they do not want to go. But if they want to go, make sure you find the time and patience to take them along and show them how great and rewarding spending time in the outdoors can be.