One of the most valuable and meaningful things ever done for me was at the hands of my dad. Because of him, I developed a love for the outdoors and all that entails from fishing to shooting to hunting.
Some dads today are too preoccupied or focused on their own hunt to take their youngsters along when building deer stands, trimming shooting lanes, taking target practice et al.
Of all the events my dad got me involved in, tagging along with him as a kid through the woods as he squirrel hunted jump started me to the hunting scene. I learned early on how to sneak, how to walk quietly, when to move and when to remain still. A few years later, after spending time under dad's tutelage in shooting tin cans with a .22 rifle, I was allowed to take the rifle with me when he and I squirrel hunted.
Recently, I was made aware of another father/son team who are approaching the shooting/hunting scene much like my dad and me. Reggie McLeroy, Ruston educator and renowned wildlife artist and creator of the Lil Daddy cartoon series, shared how he got his son, eight year old Kenmyn, interested in the outdoors.
"When I started working on my deer stands prior to season opening this year, Kenmyn showed an interest in what I was doing so I took him along with me to let him start seeing what shooting and hunting were all about," said McLeroy.
"Seeing his interest pleased me because it caused me to remember how I got started; how my older cousin introduced me to squirrel hunting and later deer hunting.
"One thing I picked up fairly early was that if you're in the woods involved in outdoors activities, you're not in the streets doing things that other kids were doing that could get you in trouble; I want Kenmyn to see just how wholesome and fun hunting and shooting can be," McLeroy added.
"Once he got involved in helping me with my deer stands, he started hinting for a BB gun. His cousin gave him one, which gave me the opportunity to teach him gun safety. I was pleased with his progress with the BB gun and I felt he was ready to move up so I introduced him to a .22 rifle. I'd set up plastic bottles of water against a backstop for him to shoot and he was hitting these targets dead-on.
According to McLeroy, the time was now to move up to a deer rifle, so he decided to see how Kenmyn would do with his .243 high powered rifle.
"I set up a target at 86 yards – I ranged it with my Range Finder – and started the process. I taught him how to breathe, how to mount the gun, how to put the scope on the target and how to gently squeeze the trigger. I was amazed that his first shot hit the bulls eye almost dead center," McLeroy noted.
After a couple more practice shots, it was obvious to his dad that Kenmyn was ready to go deer hunting.
"We got to the deer blind on Kenmyn's first hunt; the blind was set up in an area where I'd seen some does earlier. We'd been there a little while when we watched four deer walk up to the feed I had out.
"I whispered instructions to him, asking him if he was sure he was ready and if so, to put the crosshairs where I'd taught him and when he's ready, touch the trigger. It went perfectly; he squeezed the trigger, the deer bolted and then dropped 40 yards away."
Kenmyn's, assessment of the whole episode? "I felt really good when I saw that deer flip over," he said, grinning broadly.
Kenmyn is fortunate to have a dad willing to take the time to share something so special with him. That's the way it works and one day, Kenmyn will more than likely be the teacher of his own son.
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.