By Clay Brown
Since I was young, the turning of seasons from summer to fall has created a stirring in me to want to get out doors. This stirring was created through thousands of hours in the fields, swamps and woodlands with my dad and two brothers hunting for Doves, Ducks and Deer. I was three years old the first time I went hunting with my Dad. I remember carrying my toy gun with me, carrying it on my shoulder like Daddy, and Dad letting me take the first shot even though I was shooting a fake gun. Dad always made sure that I pointed it in a safe direction.
Over the years hunting has played a huge part in the character development of my brothers and me. My Dad has always had impeccable integrity especially when it comes to following local hunting laws and regulations, even in the “gray areas.” His example laid the foundation for the level of integrity that I try to maintain in my own life. If I had seen my father be willing to bend or break the rules when no one was watching, it would have taught me that it was okay to do that in other areas of my life, like school and work, even to the relationship that I was to have with my future spouse.
The lessons that I learned through hunting were not as evident to me until recently. I now have two daughters of my own and yes, they will be hunters too! My oldest is now 3 years old and this will be the first year that I will be able to begin taking her with me in the dove field, dear stand or duck blind. As a father, it’s my goal to be her life mentor and pass to her the same level of morals and ethics that were given to me. The sport of hunting is exciting and fun. More than that, it gives me the opportunity to enjoy God’s creation and to be one-on-one with my little girl and have the opportunity to pour into her life like my father poured into mine.