Most non-hunters have a fixed assumption that hunting is only about the tags we fill. I’ve been a hunter since I was 4 years old, and I can assure you, filling a tag is the smallest part of the adventure. It’s not about the harvest, it’s about spending time with family in the great outdoors and creating memories that last a lifetime!
Growing up as a hunter
I was raised around hunting. Completely immersed in it. My earliest memories are my dad coming back from trips and telling me his stories. He’s the reason I’m a hunter and why I’m so passionate about it. Seeing his passion from such a young age inspired me. It still inspires me and hunting together has created memories I can share with my future family and they can share with theirs. I remember when I was little, I would color while we were sitting in the goose pit. It kept me occupied as a little kid and we were spending quality time together! It’s one of those moments I’ll never forget.
All About Family
My mom drew a bull elk tag in the fall of 2013 and it was turned into a family excursion. My dad and I both went and that’s how the hunts are with us! Whenever one of us draws a tag, we all come along for the fun. That’s how it’s always been. My mom and I even took our hunter safety class together when I was 8 years old!!
My family and I are very close and I attribute a lot of that to hunting together. No phones, no distractions, just each other. We bond over the beauty of nature and wildlife. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m extremely grateful to have been raised in this lifestyle.
Get your Official Texas
Hunter Safety Certification
Get your Official Texas
Hunter Safety Certification
The Official Texas Parks & Wildlife Online Hunter Safety Course, required for all hunters born after Sept 1, 1971. Designed for Texas Hunters & State Approved.
My dad instilled the importance of conservation to me. Hunting is conservation and that was something I learned early on. A big part of my understanding of that was due to Ducks Unlimited. They are a non profit organization focused on conserving wetlands and waterfowl. I have been a member since I was 1 year old.
I have volunteered at many of their banquets for my local chapter and they had great things for kids to get involved with. I would draw the raffle tickets, help with games, and win prizes! The most valuable thing I gained from those experiences though, was seeing and meeting the most passionate hunters. Seeing people so in love with the sport strengthened my love for it. I truly gained a deeper understanding of conservation from this organization. I felt that we were all a community with a greater purpose of conserving wildlife. Hunters are one big family.
Experiencing New Places
As a family, we take hunting trips quite frequently. If we fill a tag during the trip, that’s great, but it’s not what makes the hunt. What makes a hunting trip memorable is meeting new people, trying new foods, and experiencing cultures. Actually harvesting an animal is such a small piece of the entire puzzle. Fred Bear says it best, “A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be.”
I miss a lot of school to be able to travel as much as we do. But, one thing I’ve realized is traveling has taught me more than what I would have learned at school. Not to say that school isn’t important, because it is, but experiencing the real world and actually seeing it can’t be taught in the classroom.
North Carolina is a yearly trip we try to make for black bears. We have gone for almost 4 years and now it’s become my favorite state. When I think of going there, the first thing I think of isn’t the hunting, it’s our great friends and the beautiful scenery. Hunting isn’t the sole reason we fly out there every year and it certainly isn’t the sole reason we take hunting trips in the first place. It’s not only about the hunting.
Jim and Eva Shockey are two of the most influential and well known hunters in the industry. My dad loves Jim’s show, Uncharted, and whenever he has the TV remote, that’s one of the shows that he plays. We frequently watch it together as a family and it’s refreshing to see a show not focused on the kill, but instead focused on the spiritual aspect. Jim documents traveling to his destination, the amazing people, the new foods and cultures, the land he hunts, and he’s completely involved in all of it. It’s a unique show and watching it together as a family motivates us to do the same on our family hunting trips!
Eva Shockey is a powerful woman hunter and has made me more confident and truly shown me how to embrace being a young girl in the industry. I’ve met her a few times at Cabelas and Safari Club International and she is so sweet! I was even on her book launch team for Taking Aim!
The person I look up to the most is my dad, the man who taught me everything I know. Hunting for us is all about family and when he was growing up, it was the same way. It’s a tradition and the core of our family. Pictured to the right is my dads grandpa (my great grandpa) hunting in Mexico.
A family that hunts together, stays together!!