• Ken Perrotte

Teachable Moments about the Nature of Life Abound when Hunting or Fishing with Children

Updated: Nov 9


Nothing Like Sharing Outdoors Experiences!

Note: This article was also published in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star daily newspaper.


Young William Martel is no stranger to outdoors experiences. His dad Andy and his mom Kristi have been bringing the youngster up in a way that regularly exposes him to hunting and fishing and the outdoors lifestyle. Just seven years old, the King William County youngster has been on many hunting trips, usually as an observer. Last Saturday, though, he got to pull the trigger on his first wild turkey.


“I told him if he was going to be the hunter, he’d have to carry his own shotgun,” said Andy. Armed with the single-shot, break-action .410 shotgun and pockets full of goldfish snacks, William followed his mom and dad quietly through the woods to the pop-up hunting blind Andy had erected the day before.


“Blinds are indispensable when you’re hunting with fidgety young kids,” Andy said. And, fidgety old(er) men I might add.


William barely had time to make a dent in the bag of goldfish crackers. Almost as soon as the sun rose, a young tom turkey cooperatively marched himself right toward their decoys. With his dad coaching over his shoulder, William settled the gun into the rest they had brought into the blind and waited until the turkey was perfectly positioned. By 7 a.m., they were packing things up and posing for pictures.


It was a moment shared by many kids and their parents during last weekend’s early hunting opportunity for kids and novices, officially called “apprentice” hunters, in Virginia. Kristi captured a photo of father and son spontaneously, enthusiastically hugging moments after the shot. It is bound to be an image William someday shares with his grandkids.


Andy, a medic firefighter, explained that William’s anticipation had been building for months. There had been the verbal coaching about the hunt, what to do, how the turkeys behave and then there was some range time to practice shooting. Andy wasn’t sure if he wanted William to use the .410 or a 20-gauge, knowing the 20 gauge can fire a lot more pellets, which might help should the shot be a little off the mark.


Targets were placed at 30 yards, the distance Andy determined would be the maximum range for William to take a shot.


“He kept shooting high and right with the 20 (gauge),” Andy said. “He was flinching. With the .410, all of his shots were perfectly on pattern.”

They loaded the shotgun with BOSS TOM shotshells. These are some of the new, expensive tungsten pellet shells – versus copper plated or lead - that are finding favor across much of the country. The density and knockdown power of the tungsten lets shooters downsize their firearms, routinely taking big birds with size 7 or 9 shot. The shells in William’s .410 had size 9 pellets, the only size made for that small gun.


As I said, the shells are expensive, about $40 for a box of 5. But there is no denying their efficacy when it comes to killing turkeys, even in guns such as a .410, usually considered a gun for kids or small-framed shooters that might have trouble with recoil. Even seasoned turkey hunters are switching to .410s and 20-gauge guns using the newer turkey loads. Veteran turkey hunter Jim Spencer of Arkansas told me last fall that he was always a “bigger is better” guy, shooting 3.5-inch magnum payloads out of a 12 gauge only because they didn’t make 4-inch loads. He recently began using Federal’s new Tungsten Super Shot in a smaller gun and says he’s never going back to the cheek-rattling magnums.

But I digress.

Teachable Moments

William helped Andy clean the turkey. He regularly helps his dad clean wild ducks and he likes to use pliers or tweezers to remove feathers when needed.


“We opened the turkey up and took a look at what he had been eating,” Andy said. “I explained to William that, just like people, wild turkeys can eat a lot of different foods. We found at least 10 different types of seeds and insects in that turkey’s craw. There was even an earthworm.”


Next up, was finishing the meat for storage and cooking. The breasts were packaged for the freezer while the legs and the thighs were destined for a hearty turkey-vegetable soup the next day.


There is something powerful about a child knowing he or she was a big reason for a main dish at a family meal. “I did this,” is a commanding statement when it refers to awareness about helping a family sustain itself. Whether it be eating fish, game birds, red meat such as venison, or vegetables grown in a family garden, that sense of being a provider creates lifelong values.


When you take a youngster hunting or fishing and then follow it through to the natural endpoint of letting them participate in using that fish and game for food, you share a broad lesson about life. I believe the child who kills that turkey or catches a fish and then gets to partake in its transformation into food learns more about the nature of things – the “web of life” as it’s sometimes called - than a kid watching dad unload sacks of plastic and Styrofoam-packaged supermarket meat into the refrigerator. It reinforces that food can come directly from their own effort and skill.


That comparison between store-bought food and self-procured food can be explained as the fish and game is being cleaned. As Andy knows, every step in the process represents a teachable moment for William. When filleting a fish, skinning a deer or breaking down a turkey, you can explain to the child that the meat they see in in the supermarket all had to be processed into the cuts they enjoy eating, the food so important to their body’s development and sustainment. When you buy the fish or meat from the store, though, you have paid others to do the toughest work.


William briefly lent a hand in making the soup, helping cut up vegetables, picking turkey meat from the bone and stirring in seasonings, before joining his dad in outdoor chores.

“He’s always extremely helpful in the kitchen,” Kristi said, “but this time we talked about how important it is that when we take an animal’s life we need to respect and honor our harvest. One way to do that is by feeding our family; while the hunting is fun, it’s also serving a purpose.”


So, how was the soup? “William ate three bowls,” Andy said with a big laugh.

Subscribe for new stories, reviews, and more. 
(Don't worry, we won't spam you)

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2017-2020 Kmunicate Worldwide LLC, All Rights Reserved. Outdoors adventures, hunting, fishing, travel, innovative wild game and fish recipes, gear reviews and coverage of outdoors issues. Except as noted, all text and images are by Ken Perrotte (Outdoors Rambler (SM). Some items, written by Ken Perrotte and previously published elsewhere, are revised or excerpted under provisions of the Fair Use Doctrine

 

Privacy Policy:

What type of information do you collect? We receive, collect and store any information you enter on our website. In addition, we collect the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; login; e-mail address; password; computer and connection information and purchase history. We may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, length of visits to certain pages, page interaction information, and methods used to browse away from the page. We also collect personally identifiable information (including name, email, password, communications); payment details (including credit card information – although the site does not currently engage in any type of e-commerce), comments, feedback, product reviews, recommendations, and personal profile.

How do you collect information? When a visitor to the site sends you a message through a contact form or subscribes to receive updates and other communications about new stuff on the site, we collect that subscriber’s email address. That address is used only for marketing campaigns or other information we send regarding site updates or changes. Site usage data may be collected by our hosting platform Wix.com or by third-party services, such as Google Analytics or other applications offered through the Wix App Market, placing cookies or utilizing other tracking technologies through Wix´s services, may have their own policies regarding how they collect and store information. As these are external services, such practices are not covered by the Wix Privacy Policy. These services may create aggregated statistical data and other aggregated and/or inferred Non-personal Information, which we or our business partners may use to provide and improve our respective services. Data may also be collected to comply with any applicable laws and regulations.

How do you store, use, share and disclose your site visitors' personal information? Our company is hosted on the Wix.com platform. Wix.com provides us with the online platform that allows us to share information or sell products and services to you. Your data may be stored through Wix.com’s data storage, databases and the general Wix.com applications. They store your data on secure servers behind a firewall.

How do you communicate with your site visitors? The primary means of communicating with site users is via email for the purposes of marketing campaigns, promotions, and update. We may contact you to notify you regarding your subscription, to troubleshoot problems, resolve a dispute, collect fees or monies owed, to poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, to send updates about our company, or as otherwise necessary to contact you to enforce our User Agreement, applicable national laws, and any agreement we may have with you. For these purposes we may contact you via email, telephone, text messages, and postal mail.

How do you use cookies and other tracking tools? Our hosting platform Wix.com and our analytical services providers such as Google Analytics may place cookies that facilitate their services. To be perfectly honest, Kmunicate Worldwide LLC, the owner of outdoorsrambler.com, never looks at cookies or any other tracking/data collection tools, only the aggregated reports provided by the hosting service or analytical services providers.

How can your site visitors withdraw their consent? If you don’t want us to process your data anymore, please contact us using the “Contact Us” form on the site.

Privacy policy updates: We reserve the right to modify this privacy policy at any time, so please review it frequently. Changes and clarifications will take effect immediately upon their posting on the website. If we make material changes to this policy, we will notify you here that it has been updated, so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we use and/or disclose it.