Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 80

PREDATOR HUNTING FRED EICHLER, HUNTING EDITOR Make sure it’s size of the experience and not the size of the harvest that counts. I’m not close to being a perfect father, but when I take the kids, I do continually try not to be as regimented as I often am when hunting by myself. I’m slowly realizing that quality family time out- doors is way more important than getting the kids a shot at an animal. Lessons & Rules The things I feel my wife and I have done right were to first and foremost try not to put any pres- sure on them to harvest an animal. However, if they did, we made a big deal about thanking them for providing the meal we were eating. It didn’t matter if it was frog legs or a squirrel, when we would sit down to eat, we always thanked whoever provided the meal. We also cut the kids off of technology three days a week at an early age. The rule in our house is no TV or video games Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. That was huge and kept them more engaged in other outdoor activities, whether it was hiking, shooting, riding a horse, or reading. We’ve tried to teach them respect for all animals big or small and to respect the animals they harvest by utilizing the skin, the meat, or both. We were also sticklers on teaching them to use and become pro- ficient with multiple weapons, so they could decide what they enjoyed the most. We encouraged them to only take shots they were confident they could make out of respect for the animal. We got them engaged in learning tracks, as well as how to skin, quarter, debone, and cook their harvests. Fred’s youngest, Trent, and his first deer. Trent and Grandpa after a successful coyote hunt. Generations of Life Memories As they get older, the game gets bigger. Everyone celebrated Trent’s first elk. 80 WESTERN HUNTER I’m proud to share with you that all three boys are active outdoorsmen. Our family vacations usu- ally revolve around some type of outdoor activity and we are building life memories. Similarly, my father and I continue to share some of our best times together in the field. We are great friends and I feel a lot of the reason we have had and still have the relationship we do is because of a shared passion for the outdoors. I’m now shar- ing special times afield with my boys and my father, who at 72, is still an avid hunter. We’ve also included my 89-year-old mother-in-law, who is still hunting. My hope is that more parents can avoid the mistakes I’ve made and remember that in my humble opinion, kids will naturally gravitate to the outdoors as well as hunting and fishing if they are introduced to it correctly and without too much pressure. It’s the adults that need to avoid messing it up. www.westernhunter.net