The huge, gnarly grizzly bear was pretty much hidden in the jungle-like thicket of the tree covered knob only 30 yards away. Four year old grandson Caeden crouched beside me, shaking with excitement as we ever so slowly creeped slightly closer, one very careful tippy toe baby step at a time.
Staying in the shadows, we kept the wind in our face, and used every trick in the book to sneak into bow and arrow range of our stunning, wary trophy.
Finally, we were within 20 yards when the beast stood on its hind legs, and in one lifetime learned graceful swoop, my arrow was off and zapped the fury monster right in the pumper, and little Caeden and poppy jumped for joy! The smile on his little face, and mine, would provide an immeasurable joyous spiritual muscle memory explosion forevermore.
Ok, it wasn’t a real grizzly bear, but we consider any good sized groundhog in the garden or front yard to be every bit as worthy and thrilling a trophy as a genuine Alaska coastal 10 foot brownie. We know how to live!
So after a wonderful morning of grandpa and grandson suburban adventure, bird life, flora and fauna identification education fun, it was only natural for young Caeden to alert me to the meanderings of big small game in the nearby shrubbery.
He learned much that beautiful spring morning, eyes wide with instinctual fascination at allthings wild. Like all kids, and grandparents too, we spend extremely valuable time together in the great outdoors fabricating makeshift bows and arrows and spears and slingshots and forts and ambush hideaways in preparation for the monumental Big Day when he can join poppy in a real deerblind ready to kill a real deer. It is who he is.
Caeden learned critical lessons about the very exciting higher level of predator awareness, the sneaky fun of stealthy stalking, the intimate relationship with the critters, the wind, the sun and the importance of our own natural sensual radar.
Re-living my own youthful adventures vicariously through him all over again, I celebrated the incredible joys of every such experience with all my kids, grandkids and the many young people over many, many years that I have been moved to guide into this greatest of lifestyles.
I have the image of every introductory moment burned boldly into my psyche, and such memories are a very powerful source of my overall quality of life. Theirs too.
All hunters know the pivotal life and death importance of turning youngsters on to the outdoor lifestyle and the stimulating discipline of aim small miss small everything. Never underestimate the power of little hunts, small adventures, any and all special moments together in the wild.
It doesn’t have to include a grizzly bear kill, or any kill whatsoever. As long as we share our own genuine excitement and passion for the overall experience beyond the pavement, pointing out those little things that originally turned us on and steered us into this most gratifying hands-on conservation fun.
Heck, simply teaching a little boy or a little girl how to properly and safely whittle a stick into a marshmallow roaster prong will do it everytime. It is in our DNA.
As we all painfully witness the desouling of America into a nation of electronic game zombies and dependent softies, many of us are convinced that our rugged individual capabilities as epitomized by the hunting lifestyle will ultimately determine the survival of The American Dream and the self-sufficient American way of life.
So take the time to organize a fun outing with the kids in your life. Teach them the basics of archery, marksmanship, wildlife lore, sustain yield resource management, the stewardship realities of wildlife habitat production of clean air, soil and water, and quality of life itself.
Teach them to waste not, want not, to put more back in than we take out, to respect their own sacred temple and how being clean and sober is the ultimate natural healthy high. Teach them that ultimately as goes the health of Ma Nature, goes the health of mankind. All it takes is a little time and effort in the wild.
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