A CHILD’S PERSPECTIVE

GETTING YOUTH INTO THE OUTDOORS

Child hunting in the snow
All Photo Credits: Monte Miles

I started hiking and camping when I was 5.  My brother started when he was only 4.  My dad wanted to teach us how to survive and hunt. I’ve developed a love for hiking and hunting with my dad, and I love it when my older sister and younger brother come along.  I actually like dressing the game that we trap or shoot.  After we skin them, my dad and I usually cut out the back straps and tenderloins.  Once we have the back straps and tenderloins out, we cut the quarters into different cuts of meat.  My dad and I each take a front and a back quarter.  If it is an antelope or other smaller big game, we usually just process it into hamburger.  But if we get an elk or deer, we make roasts, hamburger, and sausage.

I also love camping in the mountains. One time I went on a hike to Fremont Peak.  A friend brought my pack, my sister’s pack, and food up, and then I hiked in with my dad and older sister.  The trip was 12 miles and we ended up camping at a lake called Island Lake.  After setting up our tent we built a fire using flint and steel. My dad teaches us different techniques for building fires, including using matches or cotton balls mixed with Vaseline.

The next day we fished and played games.  My favorite game is coyote and rabbit.  It’s a fun game where two people are blindfolded with a big ring around them.  The person who is the coyote has to try to get the person who is the rabbit by listening for their footsteps. I enjoy this game because of the fun we have had on coyote hunts. Taking kids on coyote hunts is actually a great way to get kids started with hunting because a big game license is not required. Plus, coyote hunting is fun and challenging.  Sometimes the coyotes can appear a few hundred yards away, or they can appear close. Additionally, you have to be a good shot with a coyote to save the good meat.

Because I started hiking and camping when I was so young, I’m learning to be a skilled woodsman.  What I like about surviving in the wilderness is that it’s challenging and fun.  I have learned valuable skills. Because we live 12 miles from town, we do a lot of things outside.  We fish in our pond and do target shooting.  We sharpen our outdoor skills and have fun.  I think it’s cool.

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