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Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? #6046635 11/24/15 04:45 AM
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As some of you know I have two boys whom I am trying to groom into being good, ethical hunters while developing a passion for the outdoors. Since they are out of school this week I decided to let them have their time being in "the chair". What this means is, I take a back seat to being the trigger man and do all I can to put them on a deer, no matter the size. Whatever shows up they have first dibs at. Trust me, it's hard and tonight proved to be agonizing.

Got to the lease early today, put out a bunch of coon traps and filled some feeders. My 12 yo was with me on this trip and he did what he could to be of some help. 50lb bags of corn aren't in his wheel house yet but he was there helping as much as he could. It was time to get in the blind. I like parking a long ways away and walking in with the wind in our favor. As we are walking in to the blind he his walking like he has concrete in his boots and dragging his feet kicking rocks. I think I reminded him about 3 times on the way in to "step lightly" and "pick up his feet". He is probably making faces at me as we are walking in because of my constant reminders. Of course, when we get to the feeder and see the doe in the pen, I reinforced the point that this is why we "sneak into our blind".

Once we were all situated in the blind things went well. He is really good about being quiet in the blind and not kicking his feet against the walls or bouncing around in his chair. He hasn't quite gotten the hang of making slow movements however. When I alert him to an incoming deer he pulls his head up out of his book quicker than lightening.

We were after one buck in particular, a very nice clean 8 pt that by my guess would score 120s. He is a great looking buck and I would be more than willing to shoot him myself and put it on the wall. But this was his night. As you guessed it, I spotted the buck coming in from our left at about 500yds out. I knew immediately it was a big buck and so did my son. He said, "dad, he is a monster". I told him to ready his rifle thinking he would head straight for the feeder and give us a shot. Instead he was coming directly to us. He was now 40 yds in front of us, broadside. I glanced over to my son, whom was still "being very SLOW but careful/cautious" at raising his rifle to rest on the window opening. Instead of criticizing him for not being ready I told him to not panic and that the buck would circle around and come in to the pen. By the time he was ready, the mesquite was between us and him. Several minutes passed and he turned around and came back into the pen. He jumped in and presented a broadside shot except for one small mesquite twig right of the vitals. I would have taken it, but it wasn't something I was comfortable with him doing. I kept telling him to be patient and be ready. He takes a step forward and I whisper, "now, shoot when you are ready". Then the deer quarters away and is giving us the ole Texas Heart Shot presentation. Why my son knows this and loves talking about it I don't know. He thinks its hilarious though. The deer walks away and then turns broadside again right below the feeder. I tell him again, "do it, shoot him". Seconds that seem like hours pass and nothing. Now the deer is walking away and unfortunately doesn't return.

I asked him why he didn't shoot. His response, "I was nervous dad". Man I love my kids and love even more their honesty. I can only hope that my boys understand that I am truly "trying to teach" and not nag and do so because I love them and want them to be successful in all that they do. Tomorrow is a new day..........and my 12 yo and I will be in the same blind tomorrow, waiting for the same deer to show.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046648 11/24/15 04:52 AM
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It's not the destination, it the journey that you take to get you there. Trust me, the kid gets it and I am sure is loving every minute of it. Just be patient with him and tell him everything he did that is good. The more confidence he has, the less nervous he will be. Great job Dad and good luck tomorrow up


Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046716 11/24/15 10:30 AM
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You don't seem like a nagging father to me. Just a good one.

IDK your kid so I can't advise on how "tough" to be on him. My Dad was a kind and gentle man - but by the time I was 12 as a result of some pretty stern lectures ("Boy, you drag those feet or kick those rocks one more time I'm gonna whoop your ***) I had the basics pretty down. Parents were just tougher/less patient back then. And he was serious about deer hunting.

That was a different time though and times have changed.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046721 11/24/15 10:44 AM
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you done good dad...


Longhunter >>>-------> Make It Count!!!<><





Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046814 11/24/15 01:04 PM
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We didn't hunt out of blinds when I was a kid. I remember asking my dad if we walked into the wind so the deer wouldn't smell us. He replied yes and you smell pretty damn loud.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046816 11/24/15 01:06 PM
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Sounds like you did well. Just reassure him that nothing he did was wrong. If he felt nervous it's ok to not take the shot until he calmed his nerves. It also makes for a better story in the long run.


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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: 338ultra] #6046840 11/24/15 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: 338ultra
Sounds like you did well. Just reassure him that nothing he did was wrong. If he felt nervous it's ok to not take the shot until he calmed his nerves. It also makes for a better story in the long run.


He showed maturity that many grown men lack by not taking a shot when he wasn't confident that he could make it. That shows respect for himself, the animal, and you as well. Others would have just blasted away to see what happens.

It also sounds like you want him to kill a deer more than he does. Let the urge to hunt grown in him at his own pace. I would suggest focusing more on those things that make hunting together so enjoyable outside of killing and harvesting. There are many no doubt.


Dan

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046850 11/24/15 01:30 PM
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If he felt too nervous to pull the trigger, then he did the right thing by not taking the shot. I'd say that says a lot about you teaching him about taking ethical shots. I know many adults that don't know when to pass on a deer because they can't get their breathing under control or get a clean shot. Now you just need to work on whatever you can do with him to get him comfortable enough to calm himself down and take a shot. For me that was just something that took time.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046876 11/24/15 01:44 PM
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You are doing the right thing and teaching him right. My son did the same thing When he was exactly 12. He would almost hyperventilate when watching a deer with his gun ready. I had him shoot at turkeys
to get over the nervousness. Took almost a whole season before he was comfortable with shooting. He is at A&M and is senior and he still gets nervous and has to pause to calm down.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046904 11/24/15 01:54 PM
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More shooting time, my wife is the same way, took her over 90 minutes with the gun out the window to get her first deer and hasn't gotten much better.

When my brother and I started hunting dad quit till we were old enough to sit by ourselves, think sitting with him for those few years were the best years of both our hunting lives!


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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: txshntr] #6046909 11/24/15 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: txshntr
It's not the destination, it the journey that you take to get you there. Trust me, the kid gets it and I am sure is loving every minute of it. Just be patient with him and tell him everything he did that is good. The more confidence he has, the less nervous he will be. Great job Dad and good luck tomorrow up



Well Said


Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6046993 11/24/15 02:26 PM
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I don't have kids and I don't deer hunt, but I'd think the most important lesson in being an ethical Hunter is to not take a shot you're not comfortable in, resulting in poor shot placement or a dangerous situation.

Twelve year olds kicking rocks and being fidgety are going to happen, no matter how many times they are reminded and I expect you would have to be patient with them on that stuff. But if he had pulled the trigger before you have him the OK on that buck, that would have been a much larger problem. Kicking rocks and not being ready at first didn't spook the deer, so to me it seems like you might have to keep working on those aspects of hunting.

At least he recognized that he was nervous and didn't take a shot he wasn't comfortable with. That might have been a much tougher lesson for both of you to work through.

Like I said, I don't have kids, but at any age (and even with adults new to guns and hunting) I'm much more concerned about gun safety and ethical shooting than moving around in the blind or flaring ducks.

You know your kids better than any of us do, and you know more about parenting than me, so I'll defer on that aspect and just say I'd be encouraged that he didn't take a bad shot due to nerves or without your OK. Hope this makes sense.


Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I just turned it on . I was looking bird dogs in the butt this morning.


Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047012 11/24/15 02:31 PM
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Makes sense to me. I wouldn't say a word to him about the buck fever. That's just part of hunting for younguns. A great part. I would applaud him for not just throwing a shot out there.

But IMO by 12 most all boys can learn to be still, not drag their feet, kick rocks, whisper, etc. Stuff that might spook deer. 6? No way. 8? Nope. 10? Depends on the kid. 12? Yep.


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047054 11/24/15 02:50 PM
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Great job with your son. You are doing a good job if he knew not to take the shot he wasn't comfortable with. I've been hunting since I was his age and my dad used to tell me those same things. I listened and over the years have been able to use those skills he taught me then to make the most memorable hunts yet. I still get excited and can hear him coaching me through it ever time I take a shot. Those are memories your son will never forget. Keep up with the positive reinforcement too. Confidence will be his best friend in the field.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047081 11/24/15 03:04 PM
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You are not nagging. You are coaching and doing a great job. Kids don't need to be coddled. Strong encouragement should not be confused with nagging. By following up with explanations and examples on each step of the events (as you did with the picking the feet up scenario), they are learning whether you feel that way or not. I read your post and everything you said sounds exactly like my experience with my daughter, from the kicking the rocks to the not shooting when she wasn't confident/nervous in the shot. Keep doing what you are doing. He obviously loves it and loves doing it with you. I guarantee it. Good luck today on catching back up with that buck!

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047331 11/24/15 05:12 PM
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Sounds like he's coming along just fine and you are doing it right with the reminders. No worries. Enjoy y'all's time together.

My son is 13. I have taught him that when we're out on our place hunting to remember "we're hunting" (sometimes I may have to remind him "we're hunting"). When its over I tell "we're not hunting". Our voices and movements follow suit.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047372 11/24/15 05:28 PM
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I'm a firm believer in "Try to catch them doing something right" then tell them about it. A well-placed, true compliment goes a long way toward encouragement. Have fun with the journey.....find a way to have fun with this situation......talk about how good the deer was, how fun it was to watch him, wasn't that great?, he's the one we'll get next time, etc. Save the punishment for willful disobedience, not juvinile goofs. Look for ways to make these type of situations fun. They're kids, they'll make kid's mistakes, that comes with the territory.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047373 11/24/15 05:28 PM
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Have you thought about taking a video camera with you. I did this with my boys. We would video the dear coming and going then watch it back at the house. It helps reinforce to them what your looking for in does and bucks, point out good times to shoot. It also helps them learn about aging deer. When their in the stand, nervous with buck fever, it's hard to get them to focus on the body of the deer and determine if its young or old.

Outside of that, sounds like your on the right track. No need in pushing them to take a shot, that will happen when he's good and ready.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047569 11/24/15 07:08 PM
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I'd say point out the negatives, but praise the positives. I also would try not to "hunt through" him, similar to how some try to live HS sports through their kids. He is has his own individuality and may not end up doing it the way you do. All you can do is teach him what you know and empower him with the tools to do it.


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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047648 11/24/15 07:55 PM
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Your son has been taught well and follows your direction. He passed on a shot he was not comfortable with, there are a few adults who can't do what your son did. We all learn from our mistakes. He is young and will learn about the approach to the blind and the amount of "boring" time spent waiting on game. When I hunt with first timers or kids on their first hunt I try to make talk about the habitat, weather conditions, wind direction, time of the year for the rut and deer activity, wildlife we are seeing or not, anything and everything till I hit a hot button that they talk about till the deer move in. Then we hunt. It all is a learning experience that you would be surprised at how much they take in and heed the rest of their life. I know I did.


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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6047654 11/24/15 07:59 PM
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Seems you are a very patient person which has to be good. Twelve years old puts him right there at possibly his most meaningful learning period relating to hunting and firearms. I say continue your present teaching method and as already mentioned give him some more shooting time. Is he comfortable with the rifle he has?

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Texas Dan] #6048237 11/25/15 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted By: Texas Dan

He showed maturity that many grown men lack by not taking a shot when he wasn't confident that he could make it. That shows respect for himself, the animal, and you as well. Others would have just blasted away to see what happens.


up


My daughter did a similar thing some years ago. It is a good laugh for us now.

Just keep being patient and like others have said be sure to tell him when he does something good. Sons and daughters are never too young or old to give them a hug and tell them how much you love them.


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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6048367 11/25/15 01:36 AM
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Mine are 14 and 16 and did similiar things... Their worry was sound and recoil (which I never gave a secind thought to), none of the things as you and I were thinking when we're sitting behind them.

Be patient and make it fun or they'll lose interest and not want to continue. Been there, didn't do it as I just said, and now I'm typing this response in my lease trailer... alone. frown

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Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6048733 11/25/15 03:57 AM
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Give him time. This is not harvesting. It is killing. It's not for everyone. I told my son he never had to kill anything to please me and I would still love him just as much.

Re: Am I teaching my son to hunt or just being a nagging father? [Re: Theringworm] #6048740 11/25/15 04:02 AM
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Thanks for all of the responses. It doesn't get any better than this, being outdoors with your family that is. He is a great kid and loves the outdoors just as much as I do.

We just got back from another evening at the lease. Killed some coons and did some hunting. Same blind as last night, just no big buck. I guess they don't get big for making the same mistake very often. lol. One thing I did tonight which I think I will make a habit of with my kids is letting them dry fire the rifle. He mentioned tonight that he did't shoot last night because I told him to "squeeze the trigger slowly". Me knowing my son and that he takes absolutely everything very "literal", he was just doing what he was told. So, with chamber empty and magazine out, I let him practice pretending to shoot the feeder and then cycle the bolt as if he was preparing to put another one down range. I feel this got him more comfortable with the trigger pull even though it's his gun and he has shot it plenty of times. To be able to do that several times a couple hours before game time might actually help him not be so hesitant and instill some confidence with what he is doing.

Of course this educational lesson ended up with "THE RUT" lecture and down hill from there fairly quickly. Lol. "Could you imagine if humans had scent glands," he said. Uh............."hey look at that bird over there" (not a bird in sight). I love my kids.

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