Tsue ~ That's What She Said: Hunter Safety Classes For Older Children

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hunter Safety Classes For Older Children

I knew this day was coming, although it had certainly been relegated to the darkest corner of my mind, the area formerly known as the "I'll think about it tomorrow" section.  My son, who now stands good inches taller than his mother, is eleven years old.  It's autumn.  My husband has signed him up for Hunter Safety lessons.  This Mom is not a happy camper, yet I hold back my anguish, although not my tongue.  Not completely, at any rate.

Hunting Season, Hunter Safety

My concern is truly not in regard to the safety aspect of the course.  Surprisingly, coming from a household solidly situated in the suburbs, from a family with only female children, I, myself, took a Hunter Safety course at the age of ten.  Certainly not of my own choosing and over fervent protests.

As the eldest of three daughters, I was often relied upon to provide my father an outlet for the dispensing of his manly wisdom.  From various home DIY projects and to simple automotive maintenance and repair.  Oh, the rapture. (insert wry look).  Of course, many of the skills I learned have certainly been a great help to me as an adult, despite my eye rolling and grimaces during the lessons with Dad.  My attendance in the Hunter Safety course, however, was a great source of conflict, although a battle I had no hopes of winning.  Although safely stored, sans ammunition, with hunting rifles in the house, my father was determined that each of his daughters learn about gun safety as soon as we were of age.

The course itself was fairly benign, especially as I was not required to actually shoot anything other than clay targets.  Had my father been kind enough to wait a few years to insist upon my participation, I would have likely appreciated the opportunity to spend a number of Saturdays in a class of myself and 99 boys a great deal more.  After passing the course with 100% score on the written test and out shooting my male classmates in target practice, my father was foolish enough to think I might have had a change of heart and desire to join him on his hunting trips.  My obligation complete, I was quick to inform him that the only shooting I ever intended to do in the woods was with a camera.

Family Tents, Large Camping Tents, Hunting Tent, Cabin Tent

My concerns about my son hunting certainly have nothing to do with time spent in nature, enjoying the quiet of a crisp fall morning and time spent with ones thoughts.  As a one who has loved camping from a young age, I am the typically the first in my family to suggest we grab our camping gear, pack up the family tent and head for Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Although we have the comfort of a large camper at our disposal, I still crave a long weekend of simplistic, rustic camping.

Fawn in Grass, White Tail Deer, Hunter Safety, Forest Wander Photography
Photo Credit:  Forest Wander
Despite that I know many hunters employ solid safety techniques and follow state guidelines, my heart hurts each season that my husband pulls out his camouflage and orange gear. Bambi was the first movie I saw as a child and I often wonder if that plays a part in my solid position.  I do want to allow my son to explore the activities he is interested in and know that a trip to the woods with Dad marks a rite of passage of sorts as well as a memorable bonding experience.  At the same time, this Mom cannot help but to also present him with alternative views to hunting, not in an effort to sway his opinion, rather to encourage him to consider all angles before making decisions, a tactic that will help him to make wise choices throughout his life.

Taking a Hunter Safety course is an excellent idea for older children whose family members are hunters themselves.  It is a great way to ensure they understand that rifles are not toys or to be toyed with and how to be safe during hunting season.  Although I'll respect my son's decision regarding whether or not he will join his father in hunting, this Mom certainly won't be disappointed if he chooses to pass on the hunter orange, don a pair of hiking boots like Mom and shoot wildlife photos instead.

The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences.  Tent Image sourced from Cotswold Outdoor.  My disclosure policy.


Sandy Jenney - Organize with Sandy said...

Terri, I never in a million years thought I'd be exposed to guns, hunting and hunter safety. But I was when I met my now husband over 8 years ago. My boys couldn't believe that their mom (scared of guns) was learning to shoot. He taught me that hunters actually respect the animals, that they need thinning etc. I never realized a hunter would pass up a prize buck because they didn't have a perfect shot - that they (responsible hunters) wouldn't take the chance of wounding the animal if they didn't have a kill shot. I would not be able to deer hunt myself. I could go and take pictures.. I think. I did help hubby after he got a doe, while he was gutting it... and I started crying. His kids (and myself) have all taken the hunter safety course now and I think it's really valuable. Great post.

Minta's Creations said...

I remember as a child my daddy going hunting and bringing home deer I literally couldn't eat the meat. I would cry an cry and cry. I'm so glad so far my boys keeps the shooting just to video games. I was never a fan of hunting season. I too remember bambi. awesome post!

Crystal Threeprncs said...

I'm happy that no one in my family does the hunting thing because I'm not sure I could let my boys take part. It would at least be a great struggle between my husband and I to say the least. Hunting safety classes for children, is a great idea if that is what the family is into. I know when my boys are old enough my husband will have them at the range for gun safety in general.

Pam said...

I'm not a fan of hunting either. My dad was a big hunter before he got older and couldn't hunt anymore but my husband, thankfully, has never shown any desire to hunt. Although I think the safety class is a good idea!

Turning the Clock Back said...

I have mixed feelings about hunting. While I am all for teaching our children to fend for themselves I dont know how actually killing an animal would go over with them. We get all our meat from a local farmer and they have met the animals we eat so they understand the fact that animals feed us. It's the killing part that is harsh. But, if you are going to take your kid hunting I definitely think you should do it safely!

Daisy TrendyMomReviews said...

Safety is so important! I'm not a fan of hunting, but we have a lot of friends and family that are.

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