The importance of passing it on

Kevin Kantack

Kevin Kantack

As a young hunter, snow-goose hunting was a figment of my imagination. But an elderly man named Oris promised to take me snow-goose hunting. This man wanted to introduce someone younger to his passion. He held true to his word.

Oris is a good ol’ boy full of “spiced-up” stories that make a person yearn for the past while making them eager for the future. He showed me my first snow-goose hunt, and countless others. And though we always tried our best to kill geese, we never had much success. It didn’t really matter. I was an eager rookie and he was an aging man just content to spend time with a young hunter-someone who is as enthusiastic about killing geese as he once was. I’m thankful that someone like Oris introduced me to a new aspect of hunting. And I can thank my grandpa for being interested in the first place. Without them, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion.

Those two aging men have taught me countless lessons. And my love for hunting is only strong because of those who taught me to appreciate it. I am fortunate to have inherited hunting tradition from past generations. Unfortunately, that is where the happy side of the story ends.

In a world where entertainment comes increasingly from a television screen or a computer monitor, it becomes harder to maintain a positive outlook on the future of the outdoors. Fewer young people are taking part in the hook-and-bullet sports which, as far as I’m concerned, are the most intense and satisfying. Sportsmen are becoming an endangered species. And like any other endangered species, the greatest threat comes from a lack of reproduction. We simply aren’t reintroducing others to our passion

This tragedy only occurs because no one places the first shotgun or fishing pole in a young person’s hands. Too few people experience the rush of erupting from a field blind on unsuspecting geese or the accomplishment of drilling 100 holes in the ice and finally finding hungry fish.

I finally did my part this year, introducing a long-time friend to the fine art of hunting. This rookie had never tried to kill his dinner before. And on his first deer hunt of his life, he hardly knew left from right. But that didn’t matter. Despite his numerous opportunities and frustrations, my friend would never claim a deer. And even though filling his tag was important, it was far more important that he received his first taste of the outdoors. Most importantly, he learned what hunting is all about.

My friend was part of a team that harvested six deer that January day-he was part of a successful hunt. He watched us proudly dress our future meals respectfully and carefully. And the best part is that he loved the experience. Although I was bothered by the fact that he never killed a deer, he was so excited that he didn’t even care. That is the magic. The magic is what brings you back for more

Whether it is late-season ice-fishing or early-spring goose-hunting, take someone new afield. We owe it to those who first introduced us to the outdoors to pass on what they’ve taught us. If we allow our passion to pass away with our generation, that would be nothing less than unacceptable.