Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rules for Hunting Camp

My nephew will be joining me for duck opener this year.  The following note is what I sent to him about the experience:

Ben, you're about to go on your first hunting trip.  This is a big deal!  I remember, in very clear detail, the first time that your Grandpa took me hunting when I was a little boy.  Over the years we shared a lot of moments hunting together, and I hope that is something that you and I get to do as well. 

While hunting and being at the hunting camp is a lot of fun (I mean A LOT of fun!), being up there is a big responsibility.  I want you to understand some ground rules of being up there: 
  • Safety.  Hunting is not play.  We harvest the birds that God has blessed us with dangerous firearms.  As we've discussed before, with guns we ALWAYS assume they are loaded even if we know they are not, we NEVER touch a gun without an adult standing right next to us, and we NEVER, EVER point a gun's barrel in front of something that we do not want killed or destroyed.  But that's just the guns.  We'll be riding in boats and ATVs, and that requires it's own set of safety.  Simply put, hunting is not a game, and it needs to be practiced safely. 
  • Respect.  When we go hunting, we'll be harvesting birds to eat.  They are God's living creatures, and we respect them.  We eat what we kill.  We harvest injured birds quickly to limit any unnecessary suffering.  We practice our shooting, calling, and hunting so that we can make clean shots and harvest our birds in the most humane way possible.  We also respect other hunters.  The people at duck camp are our brothers in hunting.  We learn from them, we work with them, and we have fun with them.  We listen to each other, and we depend on each other.  Without them, it would not be a hunting camp. 
  • Work. Part of being at the duck camp means that you're part of a team.  As such, it is important that we all pitch in on work to do.  Bussing dishes, cleaning up, cleaning birds, putting away decoys, and feeding dogs are just some of the chores that need to be done, and everyone needs to pitch in to do them.  That's what being part of a hunting group is all about. 
  • Fun.  Life at the duck camp is about fun.  It is about having adventures, laughing, and enjoying the outdoors and each other.  I guarantee, we will have fun! 
So there you have it - Safety, Respect, Work and Fun.  Those are the rules for being at the duck camp. 

Guys that follow the rules get asked to come back and hunt again.  Guys that don't follow the rules never get asked back.  Sometimes, they get asked to leave.  I'd never want that to happen with you, so it is important that you follow these rules. 

I'm looking forward to you being the newest member of our duck club.  I know the list above is a lot to think about.  But I also know that you are a smart little dude, you have a good heart, and you're able to follow these rules.  If I didn't think you could handle it, I would not have asked you.  So study up on the rules, know them by heart, and never ever break them. 

We're a month away, so get ready.  I can't wait!   

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