10 Lessons My Six Year Old Learned on Our Last Hunting Trip

Lesson 1:  Staying Quiet                                                                                    Squirrels in the forest are not like squirrels in our yard.  The squirrels                       we hunt are true wild animals that have keen senses they use to avoid                     predators. We must move slowly and stay as quiet as possible if we                       wish to be successful. Sprinting from tree to tree while shouting “I am                     The Dark Hunter, tremble before me, squirrels!” is not the ninja like                         stealth you claim to have.

Lesson 2:   Sometimes Animals Do Get Away                                                  It’s an unfortunate situation, but sometimes you wound a squirrel that                     \ finds its way into the hollow of a tree and it’s impossible to recover.                       Just remember that nothing is truly wasted in nature.  That squirrel will                   become food for others in the ecosystem.  No, it does not count as                       “half a point”.

Lesson 3:     Hunting is Not a Game                                                                We hunt for food, not for sport.  We respect the animals we hunt, big                       or small, and we use every part of the animal we can.  Hunting is not                       like a video game.  Yes I remember that we have that hunting game for                     the Wii. Yes, I do like to play Big Buck Hunter. You know those are                       not real animals. But… Okay, we’ll just assume that all of those                             animals get eaten. Yes… sometimes the games are more fun than                         actually hunting.

Lesson 4:     Learn to Look and Listen                                                              You have to use your eyes and your ears to hunt successfully. Look                       for movement in the trees. Listen for the rustle of leaves and the sound                     of squirrels barking. No, that’s just what they call the sound a squirrel                     makes.  No, that’s an actual dog barking you hear.  I’m sure.  When I                       hear a squirrel bark I’ll point it out to you.

Lesson 5:     Nature is not Scary                                                                       Animals are more scared of us than we are of them.  We as humans                       are the top predators in almost every environment.  Yes, even bears                         are usually scared of people.  Sometimes, but those bears are usually                     surprised or trying to protect their cubs, and we don’t have grizzlies                         here in South Carolina.  Or very many black bears.  No I don’t think                         there’s any bears around here or much of anything else at the                                 moment.  Now remember, we need to be quiet.

Lesson 6:     Look for Animal Signs                                                                  Animals leave signs we can see.  Look under this pine tree. No. This                       one. The one we’re standing by.  You see the pine cones that have                         been stripped clean? That means that squirrels have been in this tree.                     If there were wild pigs in these woods we would see their signs; rubs                       on trees, wallows, places where they rooted around looking for acorns                     and bugs and stuff. So no wild pigs.  And like I said animals are more                     scared of us. Yes, even wild boars.

Lesson 7:     Monsters are not Real                                                                    That is not the sound of a monster.  That’s what a real life cow                                 actually sounds like.  Yes, I’m positive.  No it’s not a wild cow. There’s                     a farm over that hill over there.  I swear that’s just a cow. No… wait,                         where did you pick up “Hell beast”?  Buffy? Whatever. Now                                     remember, whisper.

Lesson 8:     The Source of that Sound                                                              Boy, I’ve told you already there ain’t no wild hawgs around here!  That                       was probably a squirrel or a rabbit runnin’ from your mouth. Now                    HUSH!

Lesson 9:     Daddy’s a Jerk                                                                              I’m sorry for yelling.  We just need to be sneaky, like ninjas,                                   remember?  No, don’t cry, I said I was sorry.  It’s okay.  What? No, I’ll                     bring you hunting again.  I just…  We … quiet, remember?  Quiet.

Lesson 10:   When it’s Time to go Home                                                            What do you mean you want to go?  We’ve only been out here for half                     an hour.  The squirrels haven’t even started coming out yet.  Well yea,                     there was that one but…  Boring? What do you mean you don’t ever                         want to go hunting again? Weren’t you just crying because you were                       worried I wouldn’t bring you hunting again? You’re tired? But…  Yea,                         whatever. Fine.  Yes, Starwars Legos are pretty cool… I don’t know,                       Yoda I guess.