GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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Page 118 of 155

#farmingforwildlife 117 S ometimes I am grateful I don't have little kids today. It seems much harder to raise them now than when mine were growing up. I do have four grandchildren that my wife and I are blessed to be around a lot and we've learned it's hard to compete with all the activities and tools they have today. They have so many games and events to keep them busy. It's common to see kids today on their phone or tablet playing whatever game just got downloaded and I guess some of that is OK since it's in their culture. My wife Pam, and I, make it a point to keep them busy at our farm with other things like fishing, hunting, swimming…chores, checking trail cameras, playing on the dirt pile (that's a big one) and so on. We have discovered if they have other activi- ties to do, they put the games and phones down and get "down and dirty," I love that. The key is making it fun. We had all girls and I didn't care if they were big hunters or not, but I did want them to know where meat comes from and be able to speak the language around the supper table. I took them hunting and fishing as much as they would go and now they want to pass that on to their kids. Mission accomplished. I'm no child psychologist but I've picked up on some things relating to kids and the outdoors that I feel made a difference in starting them off the right way and then keep- ing them involved. For instance, shooting is an area that needs special atten- tion. I like to use BB guns and treat them like they are regu- lar firearms. All the safety aspects are the same as big calibers and so are practice methods. I also made sure the BB guns fit them. Saw the stock down and do whatever it takes to make it feel better to them. Lots of paper targets on the range then off to the woods to shoot at whatever we can find - stumps, pine cones, turtles on the pond, whatever we see. In the course of all this two things happen, first they are learning how to safely handle a gun and second they are get- ting comfortable with it. I've seen so many parents scare a child with a 20 gauge shotgun or 243 rifles. Those seem small enough to us, but it's a bazooka to a little kid. The worst thing you can do is imprint that hard kick and loud It seems with maturity most gamekeepers begin to understand that it's not about killing big deer or planting a picture-perfect food plot - being a gamekeeper is about taking a piece of God's green earth, making it better and enjoying it with friends and family. © Cuz" Strickland

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