Sharing our passion with our posterity is extremely important. Whatever you call hunting, whether it be a passion, a sport or an obsession, it’s something that must be passed on to our kids. Hunting is becoming more and more popular. However, without the proper attention and education, the opportunity could disappear quite easily.
2020 Antelope Hunt
I’ve applied for antelope hunts in several states for many years. Many states are quite difficult to obtain a tag. I have found that to be true, especially in Utah and Wyoming. In Colorado, there are many units that you can hunt antelope in. Some units are hard to get a tag, while others are a little easier. I actually got an antelope tag a couple years ago in Colorado. I didn’t get much time to hunt the unit, but it was fun to get out and pursue an animal I had never hunted before. Sadly, I was unable to harvest an antelope.
This year, I applied for a unit that is a little tougher to draw. However, if I drew the tag, the odds of getting an antelope was much higher. As luck would have it, I drew the tag! I told my two sons, Jaden (9) and Easton (6), about the hunt, and I told them that I would like them to join me on it. They were so excited, as this would be their first big game hunt with dad.
Opening morning finally arrived. I woke the boys up at 4:30, got them dressed in their orange shirts, and we headed out the door towards our antelope unit. I had researched the unit several times on onX maps and the boys and I had even made a scouting trip a few weeks earlier. We had a couple spots that we knew we wanted to go. We knew we’d find antelope in those areas.
When we pulled up to the first area, I pulled out my Vortex binoculars and began to glass. I wasn’t surprised when all I found were orange spots across the landscape. I didn’t let it discourage me because I didn’t want the boys to correlate hunting with discouragement. We threw our packs on and went hiking. There were a few shots around us, but we didn’t see any antelope. The boys wanted to go back to the truck and grab a drink, so I agreed. When we got back to the truck, we had a new friend parked next to us. A CPW game warden. He checked us out, gave us some advice, and was so cool with my boys. He helped build their excitement for the hunt, and I’m grateful for what he shared with them.
Time to Teach
After we made a trip to town to buy some orange hats for the boys, a “strict recommendation” from the officer, we came back to that same spot for a late morning hike. Again, we hopped out of the truck, put our packs on, and began to hike the fence line. We walked out to a point to sit down and glass. Before I could get my gun off my shoulder and get settled for the morning, I turned around and saw an antelope buck right behind us. It was literally standing in the same trail we had just walked down. I told the boys to crouch down and get ready for me to shoot. Jaden, my oldest, got my binoculars and became my spotter. I was able to make a good shot on the antelope and he went straight down.
The boys and I gave a fist bump and smile to each other. When we turned to look at the antelope, he was getting up and running across the drainage. I couldn’t believe it! I knew he was hit hard and wouldn’t go far, but what a great teaching moment for my boys.
Appreciating the Ultimate Sacrifice
I took the opportunity to teach my boys about making a good ethical shot. I taught them about not letting an animal suffer. And I taught them how to control a situation, even when the situation doesn’t seem controllable. My boys soaked it up like a sponge. They asked so many questions and listened more intently than I had ever seen them listen. I’m sure their teachers at school wish they could demand their attention like I did in those moments.
My boys were able to see the entire process. From the hard work and preparation that goes into a hunt, to the adrenaline of shooting an animal, to processing the animal and putting it on the table. These boys grew up on wild game meat, but today they learned what it really means to be hunter. They learned to appreciate the ultimate sacrifice that an animal makes to provide us a way of life and food on the table.
Teach Your Children
As hunters, we have a unique set of skills and talents that we can teach our children. These skills and talents will do much more than help them in the woods or on the mountain. These are life lessons that they learn. They learn how to work hard, appreciate the value of a life, and they learn what their role is in conservation.
I look up to folks like Jeff Barlow with Nimrod Outdoors. He always has his kids out with him, and I know he takes every opportunity he can to teach them about life. Being on the hunt provides those opportunities.
I look forward to many hunts to come with my boys. I have many memories of many great hunts, but harvesting this small antelope buck with my boys jumps to the top of the list. It is something that I’ll never forget. It’s something that they’ll never forget as well.