Finding My Arrow

Written By: Robin Althhaver - Aug• 24•16

I was about 6 years old when I first heard the word “hunting”.  My dad was going hunting with a group of men from our church.  I only remember it because it was the first time I had ever heard my parents argue. They weren’t arguing because my mom was against the trip; on the contrary, she was the one that encouraged him to go and spend time away with other family oriented men. The argument was that she thought he should bring his gun, after all it was a hunting trip, but he didn’t want to. “Gun! Dad owns a gun?” This was shocking news to me and I didn’t hesitate to say so. As soon as the words came out of my mouth my dad sat me down and explained that he did in fact own a gun, that it was not a toy, and that it was real and it was used by people for killing (it was the 70’s and we didn’t know anyone who shot competitively).

He also explained that he was going on the trip to spend time with his friends, but he didn’t plan to hunt, which is why he wasn’t bringing his gun. He explained that after his service in the Korean War (yes, it was a war; a conflict is an argument), he made a promise to himself to never kill again, unless it was to protect his family, which is why he owned a gun. To this day, I remember his words and understood that it was people that kill, not guns, and that guns were just one of the many tools that could be used by people to kill. My dad was active in the community as a volunteer fireman. He was a first responder that helped save many lives over the years; the older me now realizes he probably did this to give back for those he took. While he was proud of his service to our country, I know it was hard on his soul. I was his surprise child, his pride and joy that came 15 years after his first and 10 years after his second. He loved all three of his girls, but because my two older sisters were out of the house when I was still quite young, I naturally spent a lot more one on one time with him as a kid. Knowing how the war affected him, I’ve wondered what he would think of his baby girl’s newest journey. In reality, I know he would be proud of Ella (my daughter) and me because we are building friendships with experienced hunters and seeking all the tools of knowledge we can prior to our first hunts.

A Hunters Safety Certificate is required for those born after January 1st 1960 in the state of Michigan. Since Ella and I both fall into that category, we decided to take a Michigan DNR sponsored class together. IMG_6334  After a quick search via the Michigan DNR, we located a two day class in our area. IMG_7251 I have to be honest, I wasn’t really sure how Ella would do after sitting all in a classroom all week and then spending the entire weekend in another one, especially knowing that up until this point, she only had an interest in Bow Hunting. Also, boys would be there, and she dislikes boys (for now). When the weekend of the class finally arrived, we were both relieved that we were not the only ladies in the class. Ella found a girl her age that was equally shy at first and was excited at the prospect of hunting with her dad. Of course, Ella told her all about4H Shooting Sports and how up until now our family had not been hunters. I found another mom taking the class with her son. She seemed very apprehensive at first with the idea of her “baby boy” hunting (he towered over Ella); however, by the end of the weekend, she was excited for her son too. IMG_6348  This is truly because the instructors did a great job of keeping us engaged with the need to know laws and safety that included personal stories that justify the rules especially when bow and gun seasons crossover. Our class also included demonstrations with hands on opportunities to use tree stand harnesses, firearms, as well as archery equipment, and, of course, the dreaded field test (firing a rifle and crossing the imaginary fence properly). IMG_6473 I am happy to say that Ella and I both passed our field and written test with a score of 100%, so the Journey to the Hunt will continue.






#FollowingMyArrow #PSE #MiDNR #Cabelas #HunterSafety #JourneyToTheHunt #UNJ #UpNorthJournal #Iam4H #TrueLeaders #BecomingABowHunter

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