A New Father Dreams of the Hunts to Come With His Son

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By Matt Manda

As a brand-new father, to say I’m excited about it would be like saying Tom Brady has won some football games. A proud dad to a three-week old son, I can’t wait for all we’ll do together and places we’ll go. One tradition I’m particularly thrilled to pass on and enjoy together with my boy is hunting and teaching him to shoot.

The memories I have of my dad bestowing to his son these sacred lessons have all gained a new gleam and appreciation from me now that I can so easily picture those future opportunities with my son; how to firmly hold and responsibly handle a gun; practicing our aim together on pop cans and hedge balls for 25 cents at home; taking those first pheasant and quail hunting road trips like we did in Kansas with our beloved German Shorthair Pointers.

I’m now remembering my confident excitement after first obtaining my marksmanship Boy Scout merit badge and Hunter Safety card together at the local F.O.P. lodge with several of my friends. The smile I got back from my dad is crystal clear. I now recognize just how much pride he must’ve felt at that moment and planning in his head the father-son hunting trips we’d soon take just as he did with his father decades prior.

When my dad bought me my first .410 and the boxes and boxes of shells we’d use to practice, not only was he teaching his son better aim and building confidence in him with each pull of the trigger, he was supporting the industry he knew bolstered those same opportunities for him and that does so for other parents and their kids. These purchases support conservation and wildlife management programs that provide even more hunting opportunities for millions through Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration funds.

To date, the excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers have generated more than $14.1 billion for programs in every state. This has led to the healthiest and most abundant game populations in the country in generations. The cycle continues.

Looking at my son and envisioning our own hunting trips even now really brings the importance and specialness of these traditions of America’s best pastime into focus so that they’re available for him in the future. What’s even more exciting is it’s clear we won’t be alone. Firearm sales have broken records and are staying strong, a national storyline well-known by now.

But over the past 18 months, hunting specifically has experienced a renaissance as millions of Americans have turned out to give hunting a try or returned to the fields and woods again after a hunting hiatus. States across the country have reported record hunting license sales and their legislatures have recently made it easier for more people to go hunting. Stories abound of parents and grandparents taking their children to the fields and woods, bringing home trophy-sized game and breaking state records along the way. Americans from diverse backgrounds are giving hunting a go as well, a welcomed development by all.

This coming weekend includes National Hunting and Fishing Day® on Saturday, Sept. 25. It’s a great reason for hunters and outdoorsmen and women to drop everything and pledge to take someone new out to the fields, woods or even a shooting range. These opportunities shouldn’t be passed up as they help reinforce and continue the cycles that make the best hunting opportunities available for others to enjoy for generations to come.

Born in August, my son arrived during National Shooting Sports Month®. Maybe it’s coincidence, but maybe it’s also a sign Dad and son have the perfect excuse to take birthday hunting trips together each year too.

For the time being, I’ll think about the shooting lessons and hunting traditions I’ll pass on to him that I got from my dad. Besides, he’s already waking up at 3-4 a.m. Maybe he’s telling me he’ll be ready to head afield or into the woods for an early morning hunt. A new dad can hope, can’t he?

 

Matt Manda is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. You always hope your progeny follows in your footstep’s. Doesn’t always worked out. I never lived my life worrying if my 4 son’s followed my path. 3 out of 4 turned out very well
    …you try to do your best!

  2. Congratulations on the birth of your son.

    Raising a child is the hardest and most important job of your life. It must be started by or before he turns two and lasts 18 years. You are not his friend, you are his father. You make the decisions on what is best. He must learn at an early age that no means no the first time. Don’t be one of those parents who keep saying I’m not going to tell you again….multiple times. If you don’t establish control by the time he is three you will have a nightmare when he is 13 or 14.

    A few thoughts on your plans for his and your future.

    In today’s world you must take an active and direct interest in his education. If at all possible home school him. That way you know exactly what he is learning. Public schools are not educating children, they are indoctrinating them with an ideology that is hostile to everything you want and hostile to the US Constitution.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.

    Be Prepared !!!

  3. Congratulations on your baby. They grow up fast, real fast.
    Funny story on diversity and city hunters.
    Had three guys pull up in my yard and ask if they could hunt the prairie behind me. I didn’t own the land but told them sure go ahead. They came back with a gunny sack and I could see it had stuff in it. – ” Howd you do” I ask. ” Oh we got some quail. ” they opened the sack to show me and it was meadow larks.

  4. I went on a quail hunt this morning with my 43 yo son. His 10 yo son does go with us, but not today. He had a kids birthday party to go to. He’s eager. The first gun he’s fired, outside of a bb gun, is my Benelli 12 ga.

    Proud of them both.

  5. Find mutual interests and hobbies. And surprisingly gaming is a great way to bond. It takes physical ability out of equation and is often accidentally educational. My son learned map reading, navigation, and the basics of flying aircraft from Battlefield 1942. Children want to work with you as a team and the gaming is a good way to do this. My son and I had many years of gaming and only put on hold because of the lockdowns.

    • Yup, that too.
      I think anytime though, doing anything with the right dad is , even if its shovling hor$hit.,,( I added the $ sign because I think we got $15 a wagon load, 20 if we spread it. I really cant remember though , I was just a kid getting yelled at for whining about shovling horse shit and was crying by the time dad got paid.)

  6. I’m 34 and am not a father quite yet, but I know what hunting with my Father and brother means to me. I can’t wait to teach my children, and see my Dad’s face light up when he sees his grandkids in the woods. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing with us!

  7. I took both my son and daughter hunting growing up and now I can’t wait till my 3 grands are old enough to go.
    The memories are the best and worth it all

    • A good friends daughter took her first deer when she was 12 years old. Used her pink rifle too. She attends a Texas college now, and packs on campus. 👍

    • Matt, I was going to say. Don’t forget your daughters. When Katherine was very young she was sitting in my recliner with me watching some guys bird hunting on one of the killing channels. She said, “Daddy, when you go hunting you don’t have to take a dog.” Me, “Is that right? Why not?” Her, “Because I’ll pick up your dead birds for you.” So I took her and she did.

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