Inspiring the Next Generation By: Lee Totten

Am I the only dad who has heard their 10 year old growl with frustration at a video game? I didn’t think so. My son is smart, funny, and even athletic. Yet, his love for video games is hard to overcome. So, as he got older, I tried to find something that I loved, that maybe he would love: pizza. Just kidding. It’s hunting. I wanted him to love hunting.

Most hunters talk about the continual decline in hunter participation. “It’s because this generation only wants their phones, X-stations, and playboxes!” Though this may be true, it is our obligation as moms and dads to show our kids the other options that they have. I doubt any of us loved hunting before we knew what it really meant to hunt. For example, I enjoyed hunting with my dad as a teenager, but I didn’t truly develop the passion until a few years ago. Now that I’m aware of how much goes into every aspect of hunting, I wanted to share my passion with my son. However, I am also aware of how easily a kid can grow disinterested if they are overwhelmed with information.

Hunting shows never appealed to me as a kid. My dad would watch them every Sunday and he would point out a monster buck followed by a great shot and I would appease his excitement with a nod and smile. I didn’t want my son to feel the same way about hunting. So, I looked to find what might interest him. He likes shooting his bow, but not for long periods – I mean, it cut into his Fortnight playing time. He also seemed interested in the actual filming of hunting shows. Any interest, in my mind, was a good interest!

Starting off slow, I showed my son about trail cameras and scouting. He loved checking the cameras for the newest pictures and videos. Every big buck seemed like an opportunity to him. Then, I showed him a few short hunting videos on YouTube. Again, I saw his interest grow. Finally, I saw his interest pique when he started asking about filming our hunts. “Can we use my camera? It looks like he uses another camera in his tree stand. Those camera holders look pretty cool.” I had found my angle.

The last few times we ventured into the woods, he brought his video camera and his tripod. He looks for rubs and trails, just as I would, but he does it through the lens of his camera. I wanted to nurture that interest in any way that I could. We’ve shopped for camera microphones together. We looked into additional GoPro cameras for in the tree stand. He is now reviewing hunting shows, without prompt, to gain knowledge on the general script. The other day, on our way home from shed hunting, he told me to do an outro! Needless to say, I quickly spouted off a 

minute long narration about how we were doing serious preparation because we are going to become professionals. Either way, it felt like he was now invested in hunting.

Finding the approach to take with your kids might be different than mine. I recently started taking my 8 year old nephew into the woods with us as well. His interests vary wildly from my son’s. After all, my son prefers chicken nuggets and fries for lunch, whereas my nephew prefers a brontosaurus steak like Fred Flintstone. A different approach to piquing his interest will present itself, and then I’ll know how to proceed with passing on my passion to another future hunter!


Written by: Lee Totten