Please bear in mind that the presentation was given in Chantilly, Virginia and was tailored to people from the Northern Virginia area. Also note that this series is going to take several more installments than the three or four I orginally planned.
So that's a little (see part 2) about why I want to get my kids involved in the outdoors and why I want them to have the option to become hunters if they choose to do so. But why else would we want our kids involved in hunting?
I think the answer to this question was best summed up by my cousin Tom who started hunting at a very young age. Now a student at Virginia Tech, Tom has gone on to become one of the most skilled and accomplished hunters I know. He recently told me:
"Hunting has had a huge impact on my life. I doubt I would be the person I am today if I had never been given the opportunity to hunt.
"Hunting taught me respect, responsibility and really how to be a grown up. I learned to respect myself for being a hunter, the landowner's property we hunt, and most importantly the life processes that had to go on to become the animal that I harvested.
"Responsibility may be the most important thing I have gained from hunting. If you are irresponsible as a hunter, terrible things can happen, and they will come back to you and have repercussions for the rest of your life. Being entrusted with deadly tools from the time I was eleven made having a car, working and going to school seem like trivial responsibilities when it came time for me to be in charge of those parts of my life."
Introducing kids to hunting at a young age is essential to the survival of our sport. For many reasons, some of which I'll touch on later in the presentation, fewer and fewer Americans are becoming hunters. Hunting publications regularly list a lack of new hunters as the biggest threat to the sport. I read recently in the Washington Post that a slump in hunting license sales threatens the very existence of the State of Maryland's fish and game agency.
Getting a kid involved in hunting today is a lot of work. Families are busy and often have to travel to find a place to hunt. The public schools, at least in this area, don't encourage hunting.
But to have hunting we nee new hunters. My kids and yours are the future of the American outdoor tradition.
Up next: Passing on the Traditions of Hunting