As we celebrate 40 years of National Hunting and Fishing Day, on the fourth Saturday of September, I have to internalize what it means to me. You see, hunting and fishing (and shooting) — and writing about these things — changed my life.
I used to be a travel and music industry writer. Before that, a newspaper editor at a small town newspaper. And then, someone invited me to go fishing. And I started going to the range more often with my husband and kids. And then, I decided to learn to hunt.
When I decided to start writing for outdoor magazines, I sent my first query to The Missouri Conservationist, a fine magazine. Much to my surprise, they liked my idea: to write about Hunter’s Education from the perspective of attending it with my child. You can read about that, here.
Our other two sons had taken the class and all I heard from them was something about not wanting to be a “statistic.” I decided it was time for me to take the class with a child of mine. Along with learning fundamentals of hunting and other important things, I learned more about my 11-year-old son and saw his character form in a positive way.
On the way home from class one night, He said, “You know, Mom, what the conservation agent said about doing the right thing when you’re hunting, and following the rules? He’s right. I have to be the one to look at myself in the mirror the next morning, and I couldn’t do that if I had done something wrong when I was hunting.”
Wow. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about that moment. Our son is now a Platoon Leader in the Army, and I am positive that he can still look at himself in the mirror every morning – with no regrets.