He collects his arrows and grabs his bow and heads down to the Glen Del Buck target to put in some quality practice time. He positions himself at just the right distance lets all but one of his arrows fall to the turf and knocks his first arrow. With an almost effortless pull of his string he is poised and ready to let his first arrow fly. With flawless form he settles in on his pin and with no hesitation lets it rip. The arrow slices through the air on the way to his intended target where it hits it squarely in the neck. This is followed by "Dad, I got em." As the rest of his arrows are released one by one with most of them hitting the target the eager 6 year old can't wait to show Dad of his success.
As I explain to him once again that he really wants to aim for the heart and lungs he innocently confesses that he knows that and that is where he was trying to aim. With Dads blessing and approval he quickly collects all his arrows and lines back up for another round.
As any father would do, a big smile overcomes my face as I watch my son's unbridled enthusiasm as he releases each arrow. After twenty minutes or so he is tuckered out and puts his bow and arrows back and moves on to his next adventure of the day.
So far with my sons I have been overly passive with regard to hunting, shooting or anything related. I always invite them along and try to make it as fun for them as possible, but I let them decide how much participation they want to have and when they are ready to take the next step. As any parent would know it's not hard to figure out when they really want something as they can be relentlessly persistent in bugging their parents in these times.
My son recently attended a NWTF Jakes Day where he won his new bow and this has started a real enthusiasm for shooting. It is not like this was the first bow he had, more like the third or fourth, but this one may have come at the right time as he is ready for it this time. I've already had to get an additional half dozen arrows as the knocks or fletchings had been worn off.
Weather this is his start into a lifetime of shooting a bow and the evolution that would ensue or just another monthly phase that he'll be into and out of is yet to be determined, but as father who loves the sport I can only hope that he has been bitten by the same bug that still affects me today! -Dave Reisner