Learn from father about hunting base camp leasing

I feel truly blessed to have grown up with a Father whose passion for the outdoors and hunting was encouraged and shared with his children.  Growing up on a small Wisconsin farm with 5 other brothers and sisters, life was always busy and money was tight.  We were poor and over worked but did not know it.  Yet, my father always found time and the resources to take his children hunting.  From my first BB gun at age 8 to the single shot 20 gauge shotgun he bought for all his children the use their first year of deer hunting, Dad always found a way.  I have been blessed with two sons of my own who also have the same passion for hunting that I do, that which was passed down to me from my father.  If I had to put at the top of the list what I learned from my Father about hunting is to make sure we find a way to share this with others.  One of my more memorable moments during my 40 years of hunting was sitting with my sons when they shot their first bucks.  I truly believe I was as excited or more than they were.  My Father was by my side when I took my first buck at the age of 13 and the hug we shared will forever be burned in my memory.

Respect for the land and animals that inhabit it would be the next thing I learned from my Father.  There is no book I read or video that watched on this subject, it is just what he said and what he did that implanted the importance of this on me.  Never take more than you are allowed and always use what you take.  If you don’t like to eat it then don’t shoot it and abide by the laws established were not just words, it was what he did.  If an animal was wounded, you go to the ends of the earth to try and retrieve it.  All of us who hunt have lost game sometime during our time in the woods, but in my family that was not because of a lack of effort trying to find it.   Dad would take some pride in doing everything we could to find the wounded animal but always made sure we talked about what went wrong and what we could have done differently to not have made a poor shot.  Whether that lead to more time practicing our shooting skills or tips on how to calm our nerves just prior the shot, he was always encouraging yet did not let us forget our responsibility as hunters.  In regards to the land, there was never a piece of trash left anywhere in the woods, gate left open or fence cut.  If we came across something that someone else left behind, it was our job to pick it up.  I recall one of my first trips elk hunting in Colorado with my Father.  We were miles from the nearest road and most likely on a trail that few had ever walked before.  We came across some old soda cans that had to have been lying on the ground for at least 5 years.  Without even thinking twice about it, we both started picking them up and putting them into our back packs so we could dispose of them properly once we got back to camp.

My Father always made sure to stress safety and the great privilege we have in this country to being able to own and use firearms.   How responsible use of those is each of our responsibility and how badly we would feel if anyone ever got hurt.  When I was 11 years old, a year before I could legally hunt, my Father made me carry around the unloaded single shot 20 gage shotgun I mentioned earlier in this article.   I tagged along with him that entire deer season, just as my brothers and sisters did after me when they were 11.  It was his chance to continue to teach as well as correct us when we did something wrong and since the gun was not loaded, nothing bad could happen.  I can assure you, if we did not pass that test when we were 11, we would not have been allowed to hunt when we were 12 and would have carried around an empty gun for another year.   My Father has 20+ years as a certified hunter safety instructor, but truth be told he was doing this unofficially with his children as he introduced us all to hunting long before he decided to share his knowledge with others.

You may have noticed that little has been said thus far about things like the importance of wind direction, keeping still in your stand, how to read sign and all the other multitude of things most successful hunters know how to do.  All those are important and things I continue to learn more and more about with each hunting season.  What I learned most from my Father was what I still consider to be the foundation of what hunting is all about.  Appreciation for the great privilege we have to be able to hunt and the responsibilities we have to the land, the animals, those who share our passion and those who do not.  To make sure that we teach the younger generation the proper way and give them the same chance to share in what we love as someone most likely did for all of us.  This is one of the main reasons I decided to join the Base Camp team.  Providing hunters with quality places to hunt so that they can continue doing what they love and hopefully introduce someone new to our sport, just like my Father did for me.

Lastly, my father is one of the greatest outdoorsmen I know.  In his early seventies, he still hunts harder and longer than almost anyone else I know and he is excited about every animal he takes.  For those of us, like myself, who have dedicated our time in the woods to chasing just mature antlered animals, may we never lose that excitement of our first buck.  May we learn to accept that not everyone is like us and that we need to respect all hunters who are ethical and respectful of the laws regardless of what they shoot.

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