Fathers and sons enjoy time spent outdoors

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2000

Many hunters’ fondest memories of their fathers are associated with the outdoors – learning the art of the hunt from the old man, the comradery of the men at the camp and seeing their fathers engage in an activity they truly loved.

It is for that very reason that many hunters today include their own children in the sport.

&uot;I tried to get him going with me as early as possible,&uot; said Vidalia’s Adrian Sandel of his 4-year-old son, Will. &uot;I want him to know why I enjoy it so much, so hopefully it will carry over and he will enjoy it as much as I do.&uot;

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Dressed in full camouflage and hiding among two dozen duck decoys, it appears Will has caught his father’s enthusiasm.

&uot;I want to go duck hunting,&uot; Will pleads.

&uot;I can’t wait for him to be able to go,&uot; Sandel said.

Although duck season began yesterday in Louisiana, Will won’t join his father for what Sandel considers a difficult type of hunting.

&uot;He might make one hunt this year, but I don’t know,&uot; he said. Duck hunts often require a boat trip to a blind, and there is typically more action – and more danger to a child – during such a hunt.

Many fathers, including Natchezian Owen Hornstein, prefer to start young hunters in deer stands with an adult.

&uot;If you leave a young kid in a stand by himself, he’s liable to make a mistake,&uot; he said. &uot;I carry the gun. In the stand, I keep the gun by me, so they don’t get to fidgeting with it.&uot;

The safety precautions to follow while hunting with a child are the same any hunter should follow while in the woods, Hornstein said.

&uot;I make sure we’re wearing our orange vests and hats. I discuss what we’ll hunt – what’s legal and what’s not,&uot; he said.

Adults hunting with children should also take special care to keep a constant eye on their charge, Sandel said.

&uot;You need to be know where the child is in relation to where you’re shooting,&uot; he said. &uot;You should know where he is and what he’s doing at all times.&uot;

Hornstein’s sons, Henry Lee, 17, and Chip, 14, are both old enough to hunt in a stand alone, he said, but he still enjoys the time spent in the woods with his boys.

&uot;You have to spend time with them while they’re young,&uot; he said. &uot;One’s 17 and will be going to college soon.

&uot;You have a small window of opportunity. You have to seize the day.&uot;