Getting Kids Excited About Hunting

By Scott Stankowski - October 1, 2012
Stevens Point, WI— Sometimes it is not the size of the deer that is the prize. That was the case the other night as I trekked into the woods with my son Cade. Cade has taken a newfound interest in hunting. At school this past week he had to make a little poster and include some things about himself. As an eight year old, a lot of different things go through a boy’s mind. When it came time for him to fill in his favorite hobby, he wrote down hunting. He had recently been telling me that it was his favorite hobby, but I figured he was only telling that to make his daddy happy. Last year I struggled to get him into the woods and was fortunate enough to shoot a doe with him in the stand on one of the two days he agreed to go out.

Already in this short season he has gone up into the tree with me twice. Last night he initially wanted to sit in a tree all by himself, which I was ok with, as I would have taken him to the stand and have him tied in. I told him that I would shoot any big buck or a doe that came in if it presented a shot, no matter the size. He agreed and came up with the idea that if he wanted me to shoot he would pinch me.

We climbed the tree stand, locked ourselves in, and settled in for the evening hunt. We watched chipmunks chase each other for a while and whispered quietly from time to time. He asked if he could take a little nap and curled up next to me. As my sons get older I realize that moments like this should be cherished as they do not come by as often as they used to.

We were sitting along a cornfield edge in an oak tree. Earlier in the summer, the boys and I had gone to this site and cleared out a good portion of the corn and planted a food plot in there. The deer had been doing quite a number on it, as were the turkeys, based on my camera pictures. The bad news about that was there was a button buck that was doing almost all of the damage. The other night I sat in the stand and watched the deer eat in the food plot for a little while. It then traveled through the corn out to the road where a car slammed on its brakes.

On this night the deer came from the road and I am assuming was the culprit of causing a vehicle to beep its horn because about fifteen minutes later there he was standing in the food plot.

There was about a half an hour of light left and I quietly and slowly brought Cade around. I told him there was a deer right next to us and he peered around me and looked at it. I told him what it was, he studied it and watched the small buck eat at the turnip leafs and pinched my leg. That was the sign. I slowly looked over at him and leaned in.

“Are you sure?”

His eyes were as big as pie plates.

“Yes, dad.”

I grabbed the bow and turned the camera on and got ready to draw. The deer had no idea we were there as it continued to browse. I asked Cade one more time if he was sure and he was looking right at the deer around me. As the deer looked away I drew the bow back, took aim and watched as I put the Rage in the cage. The Lumenox told the tale of a perfect hit. The deer took off down the edge of the field.

Cade was excited and so was I. We sat back and took in the moment and did a little more filming. Just before it was getting dark we headed down the ladder stand and went to look for blood, the arrow was buried in the ground soaked. I let Cade pick up the trail, which was not very difficult even in the corn and dirt. About one hundred yards away, the deer had cut into the woods and lay there piled up. We gave each other five and I thanked him for coming.

I tagged the deer and we put the drag rope on it to take it back to the truck. Cade tried to pull it but couldn’t yet. He was more than happy to get his hands dirty during the gutting job and was asking questions about the various organs. When we arrived home he was also eager to help skin and quarter it up to get it into the refrigerator where it will age for a few days, before we cut it up.

By most people’s standards it was a deer that should have walked. With my son next to me, it was a no doubter. Considering it didn’t have its mother ever in any of the pictures and where it was hanging out I could assume she took on a vehicle. Rather than him ending up with the same fate we put him in the freezer. I think as a father it is important to emphasize to the boys that it isn’t the size of the deer that matters. It is the effective kill, time outdoors and most importantly great memories. I did mention to Cade that in three years this guy would’ve been a ten-pointer maybe and that he would be eleven years old and could hunt him. That didn’t seem to bother him,

“There will be others, Dad. Plus this was really fun.”

No more needed to be said.

Until next time,

Shoot straight.

Author Scott Stankowski
Scott Stankowski
Scott Stankowski is the senior outdoor writer for centralwisconsinsports.net and produces weekly articles, typically highlighting getting kids active in the outdoors. His family prides itself on living off of the land. Scott also takes the mantra into the classroom where he teaches environmental science at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School. Scott and his sons have won numerous titles in turkey and deer calling at the state level. Scott and his sons have a national outdoor television show titled Growin' Up Wild and can be found on Facebook.