By Jason Reid
She looked down on me sitting at the desk. Another late night punching away at this keyboard when the door to my room rattled upon opening. From the darkness of the hallway my mother’s face was illuminated by the dim light. For a moment as I looked up and our eyes met, I was no longer her young adult son, but the baby she once could cradle in the crease of her arm. Never ending love surging through each vein and radiating through her eyes as she drowned in the infant innocence. For a moment I was just that little five year old looking back into her eyes for love and comfort, willing to do anything because I love mommy. For a moment she is sending her kids off to school for the first time with misty eyes. For a moment we are back in the garage as she snuck photos of an eager ten year old covered head to toe in goose feathers. Even through all the spitting, screaming, crying, lying, the kind of shenanigans in the animal kingdom which have mothers eating their young, for a moment, childlike love and innocence is remembered.
She asks how my night is going. I shrug leaning back in the chair while inhaling the humid summer air. Scanning the medley of deer mounts and hunting gear in the room, she started poking fun of me.
Mom: “This place is a mess.”
I nod in agreement. Hunting gear strewn about in careful disarray covers each part of the floor.
Mom: “Do you have enough clothes for your trip?”
Me: Exhaling, I responded “Yea, I just bought more.”
Mom: “Not Sitka Gear you knucklehead.” She pokes back.
Me: “Oh yea, the sales trip, I should be fine.”
Taking one last glance around at the mounts on the wall, she took a deep breath and chuckles. I knew what she’s thinking. Or did I?
As hunters, we train hard, prepare without mercy and hunt like each day is our last. We have our blinders on during these special times of the year, often leaving a trail of mud, dirty clothes and empty coffee mugs in our wake. We are gone often as husbands, sons and ever increasingly, daughters, sometimes leaving Mom back at the ranch. Growing up a hunter, the paternal support was direct and we heard him daily. What I never asked was, what did mom think? The question evolved-
What do mothers really think about their kids and hunting?
The digital war on hunting blankets the grounded points of view of many hunters and their families. When we as a culture are able to point to the benefit of hunting as seen through the eyes of women and mothers, it becomes the inflammatory hole in the Achilles heel of those rallied to destroy us. Mothers have the intrinsic sixth sense to see and understand the valuable lessons the rest of us cannot. Hearing deeply personal and practical wisdom after speaking to several mothers provided a different perspective for hunters and the greater audience glaring at the hunting culture.
The ladies interviewed come from different backgrounds, some hunt and some don’t. But one thing was clear, there are still moms out there who understand the value of allowing kids to participate in hunting and shooting. With the month of May dedicated to celebrating our moms, I wrote this series as a way of not just exploring the topic, but as a way to say thank you to the countless mothers who have supported their kids in the outdoor traditions.
About Jason Reid:
Jason Reid is a writer and business professional from upstate New York. After deciding to pursue his dream of becoming an outdoor writer, Jason started a blog from his dorm room at Houghton College, growing it and working hard to earn opportunities. While bowhunting big game is his ultimate passion, Jason welcomes all outdoor challenges which force him to push his limits. Jason’s work can be viewed on his website Pushingthewildlimits.com