The simple return to nature for us as human beings is something that is instinctual, and in a society ruled by electronic devices and asphalt, it’s important for parents to pass on the legacy of the outdoors.
One of my favorite outdoor subjects to cover is getting youth involved with the outdoors. Whether it’s hunting or fishing, there are lessons to be learned and achievements to be celebrated with every outing.
Young Eli was fortunate enough to be drawn for an Arizona Junior Elk Hunt in Unit 1, east of Sunrise. Determined to succeed, he made it a goal to get his first elk on opening day.
Eli’s father, Darin Damme, said in the description of the viral Facebook video, “It’s all he’s been talking about for a long time. We’ve taken many trips to the shooting range, countless trips up north and it all came together on Friday morning. We hiked our butts off to a mountain that was 9300 ft. elevation. We tracked a herd and everything lined up. Eli made a perfect shot. The emotion he showed was incredible. It’s a memory neither of us will ever forget. I’m so proud of his accomplishment and so proud of the young man he’s growing in to.”
The emotional sense of gratitude and respect for the animal is difficult to describe. The reaction of young people having a successful outing is priceless. For Father’s Day this year, I covered a giant Muskie a father-son team landed in Minnesota for Good Men Project. There’s something about the bond between father and son in these sort of rights of passage that serve as a model for teaching boys to become men.
The story of this young man’s elk hunt is a great example of a young man exhibiting the emotions many of us adults have numbed with experience. These moments give us the opportunity to step back and recall our rights of passage into adulthood, and remind us of where we’ve come from to be the sportsmen we are today.