What tips do you have for families looking to introduce their kids into hunting?
Get the kids involved early, I mean at two, three, and four, by taking them on trips that are fun and where lots of wildlife can be seen. Don’t put pressure on yourself or the kids that you have to kill something. The killing is only one possible outcome, but the memory of having fun with the family while hunting – that will mean MUCH more.
How do you make archery practice fun for your kids?
When they were very young, I bought my boys toy bows from a local department store. The key is I then took an old string off of one of my bows and put it on their bow, so they could shoot an arrow like mine. This makes it seem like dad’s and gives the arrow the weight so that it sticks in the target. Once the child sees the arrows in the target (regardless of where) they are hooked and want to do it again and again.
As they get older, keep them shooting at close range; you want them to get good at hitting close to where they are aiming, not just sending arrows down range. Using things like balloons and 3D targets can help keep the practice time more realistic and interactive.
Montana to Iowa, what are you learning about the differences between scouting and hunting in the West versus hunting in the Mid-West?
Wow, tough question. The West is much more open and more scouting is done from observation through long range optics versus. In the Midwest, it’s back to trails, scrapes and rub lines, paying very close attention to agriculture patterns by local farmers and other hunters.
In the West, we found that water was a key factor, whereas in the Midwest, it seems to be cover that becomes the most prominent factor. Good cover and food…and you find good deer and turkeys. In the West it’s distance more than cover – get off the main roads and trails and find the right food and water, and you will find more deer, elk and even bears. Make sure you have good equipment, such as packs and shoes, for these long treks.
What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
Underestimating my quarry. I did it when I was young and I still do it today. I am not sure if it’s being lazy, tired, or you just think you can get away with certain things. But if you lower your guard, even a little, by hunting in wind that is marginal, not properly cleaning your clothes, or getting away with a quick draw of your bow at the not so perfect time, you will pay dearly. They are truly rookie mistakes, but as we enjoy success it seems as though we become complacent, and then our quarry lives on and we are left with the story of the one that got away.
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
Patience. It may be at the end of the day, at the end of a week, or even the end of a season, but if at any time you begin to think “it can’t happen now”, it will happen and you won’t be ready. Try to keep a positive thought process that at any moment the entire day could change, and this could be the greatest hunting day of your life.
What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
Understanding the animals I hunt and their diet. I would love to know more about why deer, elk, turkeys crave certain things at certain times. Knowing this could put me in their kitchen more often, and if your family is like ours, that’s where we spend most of our time. That is, until the rut starts then the entire game changes.
Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?
I would have to say I admire the RMEF the most only because of what I have seen them accomplish in my lifetime. Next would be the Pope and Young Club because of where I see them going. I don’t think it matters what outdoor organizations you believe in or belong to, they are all working hard to preserve our heritage. As hunters we need to remember that if we work alone we can make a stand, but if we work together we can make a difference. I do hope that someday when someone else is asked this same question, they will answer “Raised Hunting” and the Holder family.
How were you introduced to hunting?
For me, it started in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with my brother. He was eight years older than me, so when I was still in grade school, I remember the days when he would have my mom get me out of school so we could go rabbit hunting or dove hunting. My dad and the rest of my family would go for opening week of deer season (more of a family get together), but it was my brother that would kill a deer every year because he was actually hunting. I wanted so bad to be like him, that I guess as I got older I just kept thirsting for more. That eventually lead my wife and I to Montana and now Iowa and an outdoor television show – “Raised Hunting” – about our family and what hunting really means to us.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
Never take it for granted. Each day is a new and exciting challenge; enjoy the journey not the result of your journey.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
- Website: http://www.raisedhunting.com/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/raisedhunting
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaisedHunting
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/abovetherestoutdoors
Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
You can catch “Raised Hunting” on Outdoor Channel starting in July on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. ET.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?
Hunters and hunting are good people and good practices. Things we learn and see while outdoors cannot be replicated in a classroom or in a city. Hunters are not killers. We understand conservation, how it works and, more importantly, some of the greatest lessons in life can be taught through hunting. At the same time, it can be one of the most peaceful and life altering times we can spend with our families.