Editor’s Note: The best thing that we can do as parents is to give our children memories that will last their lifetimes and impart the values and beliefs that we want them to teach to their children. By spending time with our children they learn the importance of family and the need to spend time with their children once they have them. Jason Patterson of Jackson, Tennessee, a member of PSE’s Field Staff, has found that bowhunting with his PSE bow is the thread that connects the generations in his family.
According to Jason Patterson, “I started my son Oakley shooting a bow when he was 10, because with the bow he could shoot a lot more than he could with a deer rifle. He didn’t have to go to a shooting range to shoot his bow, as long as he had a good backstop. I think shooting the bow provides more of a challenge for a youngster than shooting a gun. But don’t get me wrong Oakley and I gun hunt too. I like teaching Oakley to shoot his bow, because it’s something I can do with him. I can teach him about form and how to aim and also pull arrows for him. I get to be with Oakley, instead of him sitting in front of the TV set or playing a video game. I’ve learned that youngsters think shooting a bow is cool, which is very important. He gets to shoot a lot, especially during the summer months when he goes bowfishing. He’s improving his skills as an archer when he’s shooting at fish. Whether he takes a fish or not, he’s using his mechanical release, drawing the bow, creating muscle memory and learning to hold the bow steady – all elements he’ll need during deer season. I know that shooting the bow is becoming more and more popular in many school systems. Oakley still loves to shoot a gun, but if you give him a choice between shooting a gun or a bow, Oakley will opt for the bow.”
With technology being so much a part of youngster’s everyday world, and with parents often having to work two jobs or perhaps both mom and dad both working to support the family, youngsters don’t have much of an opportunity to get out to hunt and fish as children did 20 or 30 years ago. But according to Jason Patterson, “With bowhunting and shooting the bow, if we have an hour or two after Oakley comes in from school and on Saturday, we can go out in the back yard and shoot the bow. If we both have activities on Saturday, we still can go bowfishing on Saturday night. If I have a chance to go deer hunting, Oakley can go with me. I want to teach Oakley to bowhunt so that some day he can teach my grandchildren or another youngster how. That idea makes me feel good that I’ve done the best that I can to pass my love of archery down to Oakley and possibly to future generations. I’m willing to give up all the animals I’ve ever taken and all the animals I may take in the future for Oakley to have the chance to take those animals. I feel like I’m making an investment for my grandchildren by taking Oakley bowhunting and bowfishing. Last year Oakley took his first deer during the youth season. He had missed deer before, but this was the first time he had connected. When I saw the joy and the excitement in his face that time was the happiest I’d ever been in my life. Then he took three more does that same season. I have learned that when I take Oakley deer hunting, the hunt is all about him. When he’s ready to leave, I have to be ready to leave.”
When PSE asked Oakley Patterson what he liked about shooting a bow, his answer was simple and direct, “It’s just plain ole fun.” When we asked him about his bow fishing trips, he said, “I never thought I would get to go bowfishing. That was a lot of fun too. When I saw other people taking fish with their bows, I was ready to start shooting. At first I missed a number of fish, but then I started getting better and better. I shot a carp that weighed about 11 pounds. I like spending time with my dad, and I like shooting my bow. I can’t wait to go bowhunting this season.” I think Oakley explained for all of us why we should consider teaching youngsters to shoot their bows when they’re ready and have the “want” to do that.