Everyone involved with the outdoors has that one person; that person that got them interested or started. For me, it was my father. Ever since I could walk it feels like I have gone fishing with him or followed him through the woods while he hunted squirrels. I remember walking behind him and my mother on the opening day of deer season as we snuck into our blind. But sometimes I feel that those who mentor younger children in the outdoors, or in anything for that matter, are taken for granted. They work hard and give up time they could easily use for themselves to make the experience as good as they can for that child or children.
It took some time to really understood. My dad hadn’t killed a buck for 8 years, because he worked so hard to make sure my mom and I got a shot first. I thought about that a lot this year was hoping that this year, his tags wouldn’t go unused like previous ones. I killed a buck with my bow earlier in the year, and my mom killed a beautiful buck on opening day of gun season. On the second day of gun season my dad and I sat together in our blind down in the swamp, with intentions of me shooting another buck. Not too long after we got in the blind a nice 8 point walked by but I didn’t shoot. Not too long after a bigger 8 point came by us. My dad really wanted me to shoot, but I said “No, Dad you shoot him.” After a little bit of convincing and an excellent shot, Dad had finally had a buck after all that time. To be honest, I was just as shaky and excited as I would’ve been if it were me. Now what I’m really hoping those who read this leave with is an appreciation for the ones who got us started. Please take the time to say thank you to those who have gotten you involved in the outdoors.
If you are reading this and are somebody’s mentor, I would like to say thank you for what you do. And if you are an adult reading this who is not a mentor of a child or a person of any age, please take the time to introduce someone to the outdoors. Thank you, Dad and thank you to all the others who do the same.
Peter Pelon – YCC member