Kristine over at Outdoor Blogger Summit threw down a challenge to all her outdoor blogging peeps to write a post during this Thanksgiving holiday about the person who mentored you in hunting or the outdoors.
For me, this one is a no-brainer.
Growing up with the Colorado wilderness as my backyard playground, I was fortunate to be introduced to hunting and fishing at a very early age. My father was a life-long outdoorsman, however he was a first generation hunter who taught himself the ins and outs of the sporting world. He moved to Colorado with my mom while in the Army and ended up staying where they raised all five of us kids.
It was clear from my upbringing that Dad learned early in his outdoor adventures that hunting and fishing provided a quality to life that connected him to his food, the land, and the awe of the wild that spoke to his faith. Hunting and fishing really did represent all that was good and right with the world.
And, fortunately for me and my siblings, Dad equally understood the value of introducing this lifestyle to his children. He believed that it was his responsibility to instill the outdoors as a family legacy; not just a hobby or fleeting interest. For him, it was a life imperative to do all he could to ensure that I had the opportunity to experience and appreciate the outdoors. From there it would be up to me to make choices for continuing those traditions as I grew into an adult. But he did everything he could to plant those seeds firmly in my soul.
Dad did everything right. Hunting and fishing are now as much a part of my wife and children’s lives as they were with me growing up. When I was young it was all about the cool parts of being in the wild – mainly the pursuit of game and the harvest. As a kid I was naturally drawn to the fire of the gun and the tug on the pole. The subtle, and quite frankly, more important aspects of hunting and fishing were lost on my youth.
But because Dad was consistent – and constant – in his teachings about all aspects of the outdoors that are meaningful and important, I slowly grew to appreciate why the legacy of hunting and fishing are critical to a quality life.
I owe Dad much for his patience and perseverance in being my mentor in the outdoors. He is why I hunt, eat, and live!