Feathers, shotguns & pink camo!

When is to young to take your child on a hunting trip!? If this question was posed to a father with sons the answer is always. “It’s never to early to take them out, show them how to hunt, be a man.” But when the question is asked to a father with daughters it seems to be the complete opposite. The answer seems to go along the lines of “you should wait, she’s to young, guns will scare her, it’s dirty, it’s gross!”

Being a father of two daughters I asked myself this question! And I decided that my 4.5 year old daughter was ready to go out in the field for dove season opener! My daughter Emma has grown up around a father who hunts, fishes, cooks and cleans his game! She watches the videos and pictures from my trips. She asked for teriyaki antelope skewers on her 4th birthday.

This springs turkey hunt I was loading the car, packing my tags and tuning my calls when a cute little girl approached me with a box call in hand and said “Dadda, can I go?” It broke my heart to tell her no, not yet honey. So when it came time for dove season that same yellow haired, blue eyed girl came up to me and simple said “Dadda, can I go.” To which I replayed “heck yeah.” The joy she had upon her face will be a memory I take with me my whole life. I had more fun picking out pink camo, pink eye and ear protection than I have ever once had finding gear for me.

Leading up to the trip I got a lot of people telling me things like. She’s to young, girls should not see that. It’s dirty and dangerous. You’re not a good father! Yes, people told me these things. I found myself asking them if Emma was a 4.5 year old boy would it be any different. To which every single person responded “YES, boys are supposed to do that stuff, not girls” I was shocked.

No wonder our little girls are finding self worth in boys, makeup, fashion and looks. No wonder why our girls are being bullied, pushed around and made to feel like they are less.

I will raise my daughters with a joy in being them. Being confident and happy with being a girl. Knowing that they can succeed in anything they want. That when they out shoot the boys don’t rub it in their faces…. Okay, yes rub it in their faces! Know that it’s not what’s under the clothes that makes you who you are, but what you do that defines who you are! Being a spiritual man I always instill that idea of actions speak louder than words!

The day has arrived, the hunt is upon us and I tell Emma, let’s go! Her face lights up, she runs and throws her camo on, laces up her new shoes, grabs her snacks and kisses mom goodbye! The whole way out to the field she will not stop talking. She’s on the walkie talkie with the other cars explaining what and where we are going. From the back seat I hear her on the walkie “Kevin, we will be there in… Dadda when will we be at the field… Kevin, dadda said 7 minutes.” Her excitement is infections.

We get to the field and drop the first bird and she is nervous, but giddy! She grabs the bird excited for it, but you can see the look on her face when she realizes it’s dead. Here it was, the moment I was dreading. How would this girl, this small little yellow haired girl react….. She gave me a look like daddy, it’s dead! I sat in the dirt, looked her in the eye and said “now we thank the bird for being our food, we thank Jesus for giving us this bird as food for our family.” Explained that we don’t hunt for a trophy, we don’t hunt for sport. We hunt for adventure, for the food! She looked at me with those big blue eyes, wrapped her arms around me and said. “I love you Dadda”.

We sat and talked for a little bit more, but that did not last long because it was time to shoot some more. I found myself not so focused on the task at hand as I was at the joy she had. Joy in everything about the hunt, from collecting rocks, picking flowers, stashing stray feathers in her pockets! I not once found myself wishing she was a boy, not hoping that one day I would have a son to pass on my knowledge and tradition. I loved this moment. On our way back to camp she was excited to eat her bird, she wanted teriyaki doves. (See a pattern in her meal choice) She wanted to go out again! She was hooked, from smelling the gun powder, the dirt, the game, the peeing in the dirt, she was hooked on it all. The last words she said as we pulled into camp was “let’s not tell mom about that dead birds, it might scare her a little bit, okay Dadda!”

I can’t wait for our next hunt together, I can’t wait for the day that she harvests her first animal. To all the dads with daughters whom are afraid to take their little girls out in the field, don’t be! Man up and teach your daughter how to be!

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14 thoughts on “Feathers, shotguns & pink camo!

  1. Thank you for being the dad you are. Men and women need to realize that being female does not makes us less stronger, less capable than the males. The reason they say gross, nasty,ect is because that is what they learn; both from females and males. Keep doing what you are doing it’s great!!

  2. I’m a little bit teary eyed reading this. My father never had the chance to take me hunting so now I’m learning alongside my husband. My own little 4yr old cutie is already anxious to come out with us and I can’t wait to see her in the field! You’re a great dad and you made a strong, courageous choice in the face of foolish, discriminating people who obviously didn’t stop to think through what they were saying. Women everywhere should thank you – I do.

  3. I commented at length on FaceBook (Hank’s group), but just wanted to add a note here. Kudos to you for getting your daughter out there and letting her experience this part of your world. I think it’s becoming far more common for parents to break down the gender-divisions with their youngsters these days, but it’s still not common enough.

    I know I cherish the time I had in the field with my daughter, and as challenging as it sometimes was, it was worth every bit of extra effort. I’ll be cross-linking to your piece from my blog. I’m not sure it’ll drive much traffic your way, but I want to share your story.

    1. Thank you so much, I agree! I live in Southern California where that division with girls and boys is still very active. It’s that hollywood mindset. It kills me! Thanks again

  4. This was such a good read, it had me smiling the whole way through! Your daughter is lucky to have such a great dad! I’m glad that you didn’t let other people’s words change your mind. You’re raising a strong daughter who will know she can do whatever she puts her mind to. I’m sure she’ll be thankful you took her out early too. Thanks for sharing the story of your day in the field with her!

  5. Thanks for being such a good Dad. Girls have enough to overcome in this world. They need good, strong Daddies to give them the confidence at an early age to be able to face the harder stuff later on. Rock on BowlFrogg!

  6. Reblogged this on ReelCamoGirl and commented:
    Such a great read. I was smiling and had tears in my eyes the whole way through. It reminds me of my Daddy and what he shared with me and taught to me at a young age. Daughters need strong Daddies. Girls need Daddies to tell them they can do anything. Rock on Daddies!

  7. I have twin daughters of my own that are almost two. I have often wondered how and when I should start taking them with me into the field. After reading the post I am more excited for the chance to take
    them in a few years! Keep up the great writing!

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