They say the average lifespan in the United States of America is roughly 79 years. That’s 948 months. If you were to start hunting at age 10 or so, then that’s only 828 months. You can further limit that time to the duration of the hunting season which is roughly 4 months per year. This leaves you with 276 blessed months. Out of that much time, you can assume that work leaves you with 32 days or so of weekend per hunting season. Then because of family, bad weather, or other obligations you can divide those weekend days in half. Thus, leaving you with roughly 1,104 days of hunting for a lifetime. That’s assuming that you hunt every other weekend of a 4 month hunting season from age 10 to age 79. How many of us with families, and careers are even able to hunt that much or for that many years?
Now, if you have a child that you want to take hunting, then your days are further numbered to roughly a 5 year period. So, the portion of your hunting lifetime that you want to share with a child is reduced severely. During the 5 years or so that they will want to hunt with you (as apposed to hunting by themselves) is only 60 months. Only 4 months a year of hunting season reduces that to 20 months. Take out the good old 5 day work week, and that’s 160 weekend hunting days. Due to work, family, weather, and other obligations reduce that time in half, and you’re left with 80 lifetime hunting days with your son or daughter.
Again, this is assuming that they will be willing to hunt with you and not by themselves for a 5 year period (some won’t make it that long). It also assumes that they go with you both days of the weekend, every other weekend for 5 consecutive 4 month hunting seasons.
This is the first season that I’ve hunted with one of my children. My oldest wants to have nothing to do with hunting (so far), and to each his own. I would never force or pressure anyone into the sport. It must be a choice or it will never be fully appreciated. However, my oldest daughter dove in feet first this year. At age 11, she was fortunate enough to take a wild hog, which I wrote about in My Daughter’s First Hunt – Thanksgiving Day Ham. She was also fortunate enough to harvest her first deer, which I wrote about in Go Ahead…Shoot Like a Girl – A Girl’s First Whitetail. Both of these hunts and the other photos here are exactly why I started this blog. To catalogue both my, and other peoples’ experiences in the field with family and friends, and to share it with whomever wishes to join in the story.
The older I get, the more I realize that time surrenders to no man. There is an evident equation that reveals itself more and more over time. The more I age, the faster time passes regardless of how much I try to fight it. The perception of time for an active husband and father is “long days, and short years.” It seems as though the day will never reach its merciful apex. Yet, when the day’s hard work is done, you look up and realize that years have passed without notice. My children have become young men and women. Like ice crystals forming on a duck pond, more grey has crept its way into my beard, and I don’t remember my belly sticking out quite that far!? I’m making a concerted effort to take advantage of every sharable moment in the sport that I love with the people that I love. Not to rush through things, but to try to enjoy these few precious moments with my children. Whether it comes to hunting and fishing or every day life, I’m going to try to remember that we don’t have the luxury to say “next time” or “not now.” Because “now” may never come, and no man is afforded the assurance of “next time.” Nobody is going to finish your bucket list for you, but you can help others to cross a few items off of their hunting or fishing list. I hope to do just that while accomplishing as many of my own as I can, the Lord willing.
Looking at the number of days I’ve got left, I’m going to try to get out into the field more. Maybe I’ll go on a hunt that I won’t be able to physically accomplish when I’m too old. Even more importantly, I don’t want to let one hunting experience with my children (and one day grandchildren) pass me by. 80 hunting days with my child doesn’t seem like enough. I recalculated the numbers because it seemed like I’d made a mistake in the arithmetic, but for once, I hadn’t. That isn’t enough time. Hopefully our children will continue to hunt by themselves after that special “80 days” that you have with them in order to teach what you know, and experience the hunt along with them. However, you won’t likely be physically present for those hunts after those 80 hunting days. If you’ve done your job right, then they will still hear your voice whispering encouragement, and instruction in their ear long after they hunt (and live) on their own. I still grin when I hear a bit of wisdom ringing in the ears of my memory. It is usually from my father’s ever-calm voice during my “80 days” spent under his watchful eye. I intend to enjoy each and every one of those precious 80 days, and hopefully many more (because I only counted deer season in my math. He He He).
1,104 lifetime hunting days, and 80 lifetime hunting days with a child. Make the best of them.