by Dusty McGehee
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the fall of 1991. I was 8 years old, and it was the best day of my life up to that point. I had harvested my first deer, a 5-point buck and you couldn’t knock me off Cloud 9. I still remember the high fives and hugs from every friend and family member who was there to share the excitement with me.
Fast forward 30 years, and I get to do it all over again. This weekend begins the youth deer season (October 9-15) for our area in Lincoln Parish. I have transitioned from the young kid who was having trouble catching his breath and shaking with buck fever with the crosshairs on my first deer to the father of a 7-year-old who is about to be in that same position.
Years ago, Mossy Oak had a commercial with the phrase “Pass It On.” Those three words have a lot of meaning to me. It’s what my father did three decades ago with me. He wasn’t just teaching me about shooting a deer. Success in the field isn’t defined by pulling the trigger. Success is about the time we spend together, and the memories we make. It’s about having love and appreciation for the outdoors and being thankful for what God has given us. It’s about leaving a legacy, the same way our fathers and grandfathers did. It’s important that we are mentors to the next generation of outdoors men and women.
The sport of hunting is special. I don’t remember my first hit in baseball or my first catch in football, but I vividly remember those first hunts in the deer stand with my dad. Believe it or not, our sport is a dying breed. There are so many distractions in today’s world and teaching our youth to hunt is getting lost in the mix. There is a lot to learn out there that an iPad or a gaming system can’t teach.
To those outdoors men and women who may not have children, I highly urge you to take a child under your wing. For those parents who may not hunt or fish but have a child interested in the outdoors, please reach out to friends or family. I can promise you will find someone willing. Seeing the look on a new hunter’s face the first time they see a deer or experiencing the joy as a child reels in their first fish is priceless. These are lifelong memories for them and for us.
When I was growing up, I never understood why my father “quit” hunting on his own and only went with me, but now I completely understand. We as outdoorsmen have a precious legacy, and it needs to be upheld. I feel the same way as my father did 30 years ago. I do not have any interest in entering the woods or the water without my children.
Take a kid hunting or fishing. It’ll be the best investment you ever made.
Lincoln Parish Journal would like to welcome our new outdoors writer, Dusty McGehee. Dusty is a native of Downsville, La. – those folks like to hunt – and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders (9), Ridge (7) and Mae (5).
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