Changing Mindset

Notes from Grundy County Conservation

Father and son (7-9) fishing at end of jetty, rear view, close-up

As I near 40 years old it seems my passion for the outdoors has shifted. I’m looking through the garage at a stack of waterfowl decoys that haven’t seen the water in few years and totes full of traps that haven’t sprung in a couple years either. Actually, that last statement saddens me. Not that many years ago I would have had the decoys ready for a nice northwest weather push and the traps would be freshly dyed and waxed for the season in a few weeks.

My passion these days is getting my two kids involved in the outdoors. Witnessing their success is the driving force behind my passion. The decoys and traps are not retired, but they are waiting their turn. My ten-year old son seems to have the passion for everything in the outdoors. He seems to be a chip off the ole block which makes me smile. For him, this last year has been fun learning about animal behavior and what it takes to be successful. I often find myself telling him it is fishing, not catching or it is hunting not killing. As harsh as it may sound, it is the truth.

As mentors of the outdoors we need to teach them how to be successful. The first few years with my son, my only goal was to have him succeed. With success under his belt it is now time to teach him to hunt and to fish. The first deer, turkey, walleye, pheasant, goose, or fox are the seed you hope to imbed into their heart, but the skills are the water and sunlight to make it grow. Like anything in life, we want success, but it usually has to be earned. Some may be confused by that statement, but hang with me. To be successful at any outdoor activity you need to learn the skills. This youth season with my son, he got to witness hunting. As frustrated as he was, he learned some great lessons about what it takes to be successful. Wind, temperature, movement, and accuracy were focal points of the year. I’m sure he will be better equipped going forward with those lessons.

The passion for myself to crawl into a tree stand and hunt is still large, but it is time to take them along and pass this on. My daughter is bow hunting for the first time this year, and being successful is very important for her to have the seed planted. Outdoor activities are not as high a priority as her brother, but I’m hoping we enjoy the woods together this fall. I am fine with my arrows staying in the quiver and witnessing her being successful. I hope to share her story in a later news article. Please share your knowledge and passion to the next generation. Plant that seed so our passions can continue. Enjoy your time with a beginner this fall.