John's Journal...


Respect Nature By Not Wasting Anything Meant for Dinner

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: All of us want the best for our children and want to spend as much time as possible with them. My now-grown son, John, has written his thoughts about the importance of outdoor parenting, and I wanted to share them with you. After hearing John’s recollections about our time spent outdoors, I realize that sometimes we don’t recognize the value of an outdoor heritage or understand what time outdoors means to the young people involved or how it impacts our children.

One of the first lessons I learned in the outdoors probably has stuck with me the longest. Cold-weather hunting when I was young meant Click to enlargesquirrels and ducks. Both sports involved plenty of walking, which helped keep me warm. On one particular hunt, I learned how respect for the outdoors and the game we pursued took precedence over everything else when afield. At that time, I hadn't been hunting very long and didn't feel confident in the ability of my single-shot .410 shotgun. However, I couldn't wait to give it a try. With temperatures in the low 20s, Dad and I slipped into a big river bottom with a beaver pond in it, known for its good duck and squirrel hunting. As we searched for squirrels, we heard the call of wood ducks.

"Here they come, son," Dad told me. "Stay low until they come in Click to enlargeclose. We'll have to wait and shoot them once they get over the shallow water, because we don't have any waders with us." My father's shotgun soon fired and interrupted the cold calm morning. The birds turned hard and headed out toward the center of the pond. A bird dropped, but to my dismay landed in the deepest part of the frigid pond. I realized we couldn't reach the duck without wading, and I started to walk off. Then I heard my father's voice as he explained, "Son, you don't ever leave game in the woods or on the water, no matter what the situation. Respect nature, and take responsibility for the game you kill." Before I could respond, he took off his coveralls and stripped down to his underwear. His feet made a Click to enlargecrunching sound as the ice on the edge of the pond broke up. He calmly waded out into the frigid water, dove in and slowly swam out into the middle of the beaver pond to retrieve the downed duck. When he returned to the bank, he quietly put his clothes on, and we continued to hunt. He didn't say anything about the duck. He seemed content to teach me a lesson I’d remember for a long time. That day I learned not only to respect my father, but also the principles he lived life by. I never took my privilege to hunt lightly.


Check back each day this week for more about OUTDOOR PARENTING 101 - WITH JOHN E. PHILLIPS, JR.

Day 1: Make the Most of Your Time
Day 2: Respect Nature By Not Wasting Anything Meant for Dinner
Day 3: Don’t Waste an Opportunity When Outside with the Birds and the Bees
Day 4: Find a Good Wife Like you Pick a Good Bird Dog: She’s Got to be Trainable and from Good Stock
Day 5: Realize Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder



Entry 312, Day 2