Are You Mentoring a Junior Woodsman?

Children Archery 1

According to my Mac, a mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor.  When used as a verb, to mentor means to advise or train.  I’ve been fortunate to have so many mentors (both woodsmen and other) to guide me along the right path.  People like my father, my grandfather, my uncle, my cousin, and countless others have shown me backwoods (and life) skills that I continue to use when hunting, fishing, or even just holding down a log by the campfire.

At this point in my life, my position has changed greatly.  I am now a mentor to others – primarily my children but I mentor others as well.  I strive to teach them not just the outdoors skills that I have learned, but also a love for nature and respect for wildlife and their environment.

Children Archery 2Lately, I’ve been teaching my children archery.  Prior to this year, they’ve all watched me practicing for bow hunting and have wanted to learn.  Last Christmas, my wife and I purchased the three oldest children Bear Archery Brave III’s.  Over the summer, we discussed bow safety (many, many times) and how to shoot their bows.  Eventually, we made it outside to start shooting.  Fortunately for me, there are no arrows stuck in my house and no calls to 911.  We did lose an arrow or two but I suppose that that happens from time to time.

I’ve been teaching my children firearms safety and how to shoot (all three are still on the BB-gun – I’m not ready to move them up to an actual firearm yet.)  We take lots of walks or hikes (sometimes fast for exercise and sometimes slow for observing and learning about nature.)  We fish as often as we can.  And we observe nature here at our home.  We’ve watched seeds grow to flowers, luna moths lay eggs, squirrel and deer foraging in our backyard and we’re even rearing luna moth caterpillars.

Even excluding my children, I try to mentor young people to be woodsmen and good stewards of nature.  A young friend and I recently spoke at length about the outdoors, hunting, rifles, and a possible canoe/camping adventure for next season.

The point to all of my rambling is that it is imperative that we woodsmen mentor young people and train them to be knowledgable, skilled, respectful and safe woodsmen.  As we as a society spend more and more time with technology, we are losing some of our connection with nature.  Without having someone teaching our youth a love of nature, what can we expect from them but more time on their computers, smart phones, televisions and earbuds?

Children Archery 3

If you have children, it’s obvious who you should be mentoring.  However, if you aren’t raising your own, there are many, many young boys and girls who want time with nature and want to learn about hunting, fishing, camping and nature.  Don’t allow your woodsman spirit to pass away with you.  Mentor a young person to be a woodsman and keep our traditions and heritage alive.

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14 thoughts on “Are You Mentoring a Junior Woodsman?

  1. Nice post! It Is important to teach the next gen of woodsman the ways of the wild and proper safety. I believe bow safety would have went a long way with us as children. But, then we would have missed out on all the fun of taking your red compound to Aldi’s back yard and launching arrows into the sky down past Rogers St lol.

    • I don’t know if it would have went very far or not. lol. With absolutely no real supervision, it would have went in one ear and out the other. There’s still a hole in the siding of my mom’s house from a stray arrow. Being crazy like that was a lot of fun but good grief, it was dangerous. How we managed to avoid countless trips to the ER is amazing to me. I don’t know about you, but having a quality mentor in my life in those days sure would have prevented a lot of mistakes and trial-and-error learning. Then again, perhaps the old saying is true, “boys will be boys.”

  2. I don’t know about where you live, but here it seems like hunting licenses fall off in sales every year. If we don’t mentor our youth to enjoy the outdoors, who will? How do you like that bow setup? I am looking for something for my kids and haven’t settled on anything yet? How old/big are your kids? Thanks as always.

    • I don’t know about numbers here. I expect that they fall commensurate with the number of people in our state (people leave because of the economy and lack of decent jobs other than coal mining.) I do know that during rifle season, if you are hunting on public lands, you’d think that every single person in the state must have a license and be bringing their out-of-state buddies with them! lol. The Bear Brave isn’t too bad, depending on what you are looking for in a youth bow. In true blogger fashion, I’ll write up a review and publish it here on SmoothingIt.com. I had debated on doing it anyhow. So, thanks for the push in the right direction.

      • I’ll get a post out about it on Sunday. But the short story is that the kids love shooting it but I have a few questions/concerns. I guess it depends on what you are looking for. I’ll do a pretty thorough review and it should give you a pretty good feel on whether it will work for you guys.

  3. Great post. I’ve taught my daughter and grandchildren to shoot traditional archery. My granddaughter is a real good shooter. See my post on my website for pictures of us shooting at a local club in Michigan.
    http://hickorysticklongbows.com/2013/06/24/lincoln-bowmen-public-shoot-may-2013/
    I get so much enjoyment spending time with my grandson and granddaughter and passing on this fine sport. My grandson’s friend from school, took an interest in archery from visiting us and now he has his own bow and shoots in family’s garage on the weekends. So, we’re keeping the tradition going, hopefully for many years to come.

    • That is fantastic! Sounds like a great way to keep your family close. Spending time with my grandfather was one of the best parts of my life. I’m sure your grandchildren feel the same way!

  4. Outstanding when we mentor and teach a part of us cascades to the recipients as you lead your kids or others a part of you and your knowlefge and your skills perpetuate cool post

  5. Pingback: Bear Archery Brave III Review | SmoothingIt.com

  6. Commendable, friend. 🙂 I’m making it a point to teach my son about the natural world, woodsmanship etc. at a level he can understand as well. My goal is to learn as much as I can from a lot of difference sources and then funnel that knowledge to him as he grows up.

    • Thanks a lot! Based on your posts, it definitely seems like you’re doing a great job! It’s funny how we switch from mentor to apprentice from time to time. I spent a few hours with my dad recently where he was taking the time to teach me how to identify plants in our area (a subject that I struggle with.) It was a great time where I learned a lot but also got to spend some quality time with my dad. Hopefully, when my little ones are older, they’ll feel the same way about me.

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