Boys to Men and Hunting.
I strongly believe that hunting helps boys become good men. There is so much to be learnt from hunting, not to mention the bonding time as a family on the drive to the hunt, camping at the hunt and the hunt itself.
On a crisp morning I head to the property I am fortunate enough to have permission to hunt, in the Brisbane Valley with my son, my younger brother in law and a mate. A group of good men getting together to do good things and learn from each other along the way.
The first lesson learnt for the day is that men are disciplined. If you want to hunt you need to go to bed early so you can wake up pre-dawn while it’s freezing cold and you would much prefer to stay in a nice warm bed. An additional lesson comes into play here, teaching kids that sometimes in life you need to go though a little bit of discomfort to obtain good things. I think that in todays age of modern convenience that people in general tend to avoid any discomfort and sadly without the hard times in life you never fully get to enjoy the good times.
As we pull into the property we park and get out of the car quietly with a second lesson coming our way. Men are in control of their emotions and are restrained. As excited as we are, we need to control our excitement and be restrained remaining quite not to scare our game away. It is vital for boys to be able to not only learn how to control their emotions but also understand that they have them. Often men tend to bottle up all their emotions until they can no longer be controlled. By understanding that we all have emotions, it is ok to have them and that we can control them when required we tend to do better in relationships and life.
The third lesson follows soon after. Men have respect. As we get our guns out of the car, we need to respect the firearms for the damage they could do and respect each other’s safety. The lesson of respect continues throughout the hunt, with respect for each other while deciding who will take the shot at the first deer. This privilege often goes to the person who has not had the opportunity to harvest a deer and shows a sense of selflessness which is also an important lesson. If an animal is shot we show respect to the animal by making the harvest as humane as possible and harvesting as much usable meat from the animal as possible right down to using the bones for dog food.
Then lesson four comes. Men are consistent and patient. We walk quietly up and down the hills looking for deer and deer sign. Putting in hours and energy even when it looks like nothing will come from this hunt. This is an important lesson as nothing in life that is worth anything comes instantly; you need to work for it! By teaching boys to be consistent and patient they are much more likely to be successful in life from employment to relationships.
On this particular hunt lesson five is that men are resilient. Even though no deer were harvested on this hunt we will overcome our challenges and come back stronger ready for our next hunt. We look for the good that came from the hunt and realise it was still a great day and that we had a lot of fun. We look at our mistakes and talk about how we can do better for our next hunt. When these skills and attitudes are transferred from hunting to other areas of life such as study or employment boys will no doubt benefit.
On our next hunt hopefully lesson six will be learnt. Men have empathy. We will not kill out of some form of blood lust (as some nonhunters believe) and we will feel sorrow for the loss of life but joy for the food that will be provided. Learning empathy is important for young men, it keeps us accountable for our actions and helps us make better decisions in life.
Lesson seven is that men provide. We put in the hard work to make sure our family is fed. I think it is important to learn to work through the discomfort with respect and resilience to achieve results and provide with a sense of selflessness, in my opinion this type of lesson helps young men build good families and will continue the cycle of learning through hunting. I believe that these lessons stay with a young man beyond hunting and are transferrable to many other areas other than just hunting, to make a strong foundation to life.