Last month, artist, patriot and rebel photographer Ben Phillipi slipped down to photograph me for his forthcoming firearm book, We The People. Ben’s book showcases unashamed, gun-loving patriots, from every walk of life, that love this great land’s founding principles, especially that pesky second amendment that perpetually ticks off the controlling progressives.
After Ben had enough pics of my aging mug and my lovely guns, we sat down for a video interview for Guns.com. One of the questions Ben put across my bow was “What difference does hunting make to the person who hunts?” As usual, I gave several amazing answers and, like most of the interviews I do, I usually slap my head a few days later for forgetting to say something that was really important. Oh, well, I blame it on a combination of getting old and becoming excited like Borat when I get on camera.
Anyhoo, the thing I wish I would’ve added was that if you take your kids hunting it’s cheaper than taking them to rehab later on in life. The point being, at least the way I’ve done it and have seen it done via proper instructions and love, there is healing in the wings of the family that hunts together.
For instance, this past week I watched my road-tested, tried and true wisdom roll out in real time once again when my daughter Regis and I, along with my friend Brandon Vallorani and his three sons, went on a boar and water buffalo hunt in the wonderful Seminole Indian swamps of Florida.
Here are two things out of many that I beheld from Brandon and his boys that are becoming rare nowadays in the United States of Dysfunctional Families:
1. Respect and Discipline. The use of firearms and the taking of an animal’s life are serious business, and kids must listen and cannot be mouthy little monsters that tell their parents to go blank themselves.
The underlings have to attentively listen and obey instructions from their old man because it’s a lethal realm they’re entering into, filled with danger if they act like rebellious little brats.
Therefore, listening with the fear of dad, and doing what pops and the other adults are telling the kids to do, is a lesson that not only benefits their/our current condition, but also transfers over to other major life lessons when they need to zip it and listen to the masters who’ve been there and done that.
I can gladly report back that Brandon’s sons passed that lesson with flying colors, and I guarantee that they’re the better for it and that they’re a grade above the normal stooge kid in the neighborhood who hasn’t traversed such serious streams. BTW, all of his boys, ages seven, eleven and fifteen, properly took their respective animals via spot and stalk, with clean one-shot kills. It was old school stuff that you won’t get at the mall; and these future men provided meat for months for their own household. When’s the last time your kid provided groceries for your table. I think I’m hearing crickets.
2. Communication. Segueing off point one, obviously there was a lot of communication going down between dad and sons. Nowadays, parents communicate with their kids about as often as Billy and Hillary bump uglies.
Our hunt showcased not only serious interaction from the older to the younger, but it also entailed a lot of laughter and plenty of good old fashion BS as we sat on the porch recounting the day’s hunt and listening to stories from our guides, with the kids sitting smack dab in the big middle of it and not separated off to some blasted room to watch dumb crap on TV. Personally, I think it’s muy importante to include the kids with the older men talking about life and shooting the bull. Call me an antique.
Oh, another upshot that accompanied our hunt was that Brandon’s cell phone didn’t work, so his business concerns couldn’t interfere with his time with the boys. Sometimes AT&T’s sucky service is a plus. AT&T: Always Trouble Transmitting. Thank you, AT&T. Thank you.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot that goes into having a successful family and a hunting family has it in spades as it demands lots of quality time spent between the tribe discussing safety, terrain, conservation, the particular animals to be pursued, choices of weapons, boots, clothes, bullets, bows/arrows and a plethora of other things.
My advice, for young parents who want it, is this: Take the time – no make the time – to hunt with your young ones. Enter this fray with TLC, give it your time, transmit serious life lessons and toss in lots of living, loving and laughing, and purposely forge your sons and daughters into responsible providers, protectors, hunters and heroes.
Finally, the next time I’m interviewed regarding my giddiness over hunting and what sort of enhancement it gives to those involved in this God-ordained pursuit, the family connection will be the first thing off my mouthy lips as to what makes great our unique passion.
“. . . [W]e need to conserve that bitter impulse that we have inherited from primitive man. It alone permits us the greatest luxury of all, the ability to enjoy a vacation from the human condition through an authentic, ‘immersion in Nature'’…and this, in turn, can be achieved only by placing himself in relation to another animal. But there is no animal, pure animal, other than a wild one, and the relationship with him is the hunt.” - Jose Ortega y Gasset.