Some things are more important than your opinion.
If you’ve followed along with this website for any length of time, you’ll know I have a few opinions on R3, influencers, the effects of social media on hunting, crossbows, turkeys and any number of other topics. One thing I don’t have a public opinion on, however, is how and when a parent introduces their child to hunting. It’s simply not my place, nor is it anyone else’s.
One day, the world may be unlucky enough to welcome a child that carries my genetics. If and when that day comes, the last thing I want is someone giving unsolicited advice about my parenting decisions. Many of you have children, and I’m sure you feel the same way. The responsibility of parenting rests solely on the shoulders of the parent. That statement holds true for hunters just as it does for rainbow-haired kindergarten teachers.
Recently, avid hunter and Earn Your Hunt podcast host Jake Downs made waves on Instagram by highlighting the Nebraska Bowhunters Association’s decision not to include during their annual banquet a photo of his four-year-old daughter and the turkey she’d killed. It was a silly decision but, to be fair, NBA bylaws don’t permit the promotion of crossbows. I’d be upset, too if I were Downs, but it is what it is. The ordeal also prompted many on social media to question whether a four-year-old should be hunting in the first place.
Seemingly everyone from Bob with 13 followers to Kifaru President Aron Snyder offered a take on this subject, but here’s the thing: none of them are raising Downs’ daughter. Funnily enough, I’ve spent some time with the Downs duo (we happened to be grouped together during a local 3-D shoot he’d traveled to last year). I’d hardly consider us friends, and I haven’t seen him since, but I can tell you this much – he’s an absolute killer, he knows his shit, he’s as friendly as one could hope for and his daughter shot her recurve better than most people shoot their compound. Keyboard warriors could never have known any of this, yet they still felt compelled to offer their opinion. In short, Jake Downs is the last person I’d worry about when it comes to teaching a child how to hunt.
Look, I’ve poked fun at just about everyone and everything on this site. From the guy who recently discovered pocket knives, coffee, and ND filters and is somehow now an influencer to the 400-pound busted can of biscuits whose crossbow nearly ruined my elk hunt – it’s all been fair game. But, you’ll never see or hear me criticizing a dad for being a good dad. And, I’m not ignorant to how social media works and I know we all have varying opinions.
If you don’t think your child is old enough to hunt, don’t let them hunt. If you want to critique another parent’s philosophy, I suppose you could – or, you could shut the fuck up and mind your own business.