How I Got My Start

I was so eager to get started on writing stories about hunting, that I skipped the one about me and how I got my start in the wonderful world of the outdoors! I was born and raised on a grain farm in Central Saskatchewan. My brother and I were responsible for collecting eggs from the chickens, cleaning out the barns, and making sure the cats and dog always had food and water. We were limited as to how much TV we could watch, so we spent a great deal of time outside, building forts, making rafts, and spending time with the animals. We lived only a few miles from the nearest town, and we had a local archery club that our parents were a part of, there were also various youth programs within the archery club that my brother and I took part in. The attached, top left picture shows me at the age of 7 with my first re-curve bow! I remember traveling to various places all over Saskatchewan to participate in archery shoots, and I still have all of my medals and trophies from those days. The local archery club has long since closed down but my brother and I still use portable targets to shoot our newer and improved compound bows (and for me – crossbows)

The bottom right picture is me at the age of 12 with one of many northern pike (Jack fish) that we used to catch in one of the many great lakes northern Saskatchewan has to offer. I believe this fish in particular was caught in Mirond Lake, where we spent several summers camping and fishing with family and friends.
Here in Canada, we have a “Hunter Education Course” that kids can take once they reach the age of 12. It teaches everything from parts of a gun to responsible rifle hunting, animal identification to field dressing your game, as well as outdoor survival and ways to be an ethical hunter. My Dad is also an instructor for this particular course – which I took the same year I turned 12. Up until that point, and even for a few years after, the most “hunting” I had done was blackbirds and sparrows around the yard and trapping various farm yard rodents and pests.

Once I had the Hunter Ed. Course under my belt, I was finally able to put my name in the Big Game draws along with my Dad and brother! I was pretty excited to be able to carry a rifle instead of always being the designated “bush pusher”! Which, to be honest, I didn’t really mind that job at all, it allowed me to find lots of outdoor “souvenirs” like antlers, animal skulls, abandoned wasps nests, and all sorts of other things that many others would walk past. In another story, I will share some pictures of what I do with all those self proclaimed treasures I’ve brought home over the years!

But for now, I would just like to stress the importance of getting kids outdoors. I see so many kids who would rather play a game console, an ipad or whatever other electronic device has their attention – than go outside. I have so many memories of being outside as a kid. Yes, I got sunburns, I got bug bites, slivers, cuts, I tripped, I fell, I wrecked clothes with grass stains and rips. And yet, although I do remember watching TV, I don’t remember my favorite episode of “Thundercats” or what all of the characters’ names were on “Hercules”, I do remember that caragana bushes made the best home made bows and arrows, I remember going down to the slough every day in early spring to see if the pussy willows were out yet, and I remember having to be called several times just to come in and eat lunch!

The things that kids can learn from just being outside, are so much more beneficial than any app. or game can ever teach. I want to thank my parents for giving me those opportunities, for taking me outdoors, for not sheltering me from all the hazards that come with farm life, for all the animals, which taught me responsibility and compassion. And I want to thank my big brother, for showing me how to make those caragana bows, getting sunburnt beside me, and carrying me to the house when that hornet stung my foot, then waiting for Mom to dig the stinger out so we could back outside and play! Without these 3 people in my life, I wouldn’t be who I am today!

Jan 12, 2015 | Category: Blog | Comments: none


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