As a grandmother to four beautiful grands, whom I fondly call my “camo cuties,” I love nothing more than kindling their interest in all matters involving the outdoors. All three of my grandgirls —ages five, eight, and eleven—have picked up birds on a dove field with their daddy.
Caroline, the eight-year-old, has sat in a deer stand and is very eager to shoot a hog. My two-year-old grandson is a bit young yet, but he already loves to go on nature walks and is lucky to be able to go to his Grandma Lolly’s “farm,” where he enjoys her donkey, chickens, dogs, cats, and horses!
The grand’s presents for Christmas 2021 had a hunting theme: Each child received a camo backpack filled with age-appropriate items they would need for an outdoor adventure or even a real hunt! I admit that I tend to overpack when heading outdoors, but I prefer to think of this as being prepared for just about anything. Many hunters get to their stands with their guns and binoculars, and that’s pretty much it. Not me! I have a feeling I am setting the trend with these special backpacks.
I was thrilled to find these North Face backpacks and had so much fun filling them with lots of surprises. I included binoculars, headlamps, and pink, ammo-shaped sunscreen lip balm. Other handy items included a journal to document their hunts and adventures with notes, photos, and anything they harvested. Of course, snacks were essential, and a venison snack stick was at the top of the list—along with Nature Valley granola bars! Only Deer Park water bottles would do for these backpacks. More fun items included camo face paint and a handy little zippered camo pouch that included camo tissues, hand warmers, and camo Band-Aids.
Since Elinor is five years old, her bag was smaller and contained a cuddly deer, binoculars, snacks, and camo face paint. Baby Boden is two, and his bag also included a stuffed animal, a book, and binoculars.
All the grands received a very cool miniature “ammo box,” a gift card holder I found at Bass Pro Shops, along with many other items. I put a little “doe” in the box rather than a gift card.
My hope is that the camo backpacks will stir the imaginations of these beautiful children. It is all about instilling a love for the outdoors and the hunting lifestyle into their hearts and minds so that they may carry on the hunting tradition in the future. Hunting provides endless outdoor opportunities and is a pathway to learning about science, animal habitats, biology, respect for nature, and the importance of conservation. It is a way to cultivate a hunter’s heart, even though lessons about killing an animal and fiercely protecting the species can be confusing, even for adults.
Yes, it is on our backs as parents and grandparents to put the camo backpack on our young ones so that they can “carry the cause” of protecting our hunting traditions for generations to come.