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Old 12-18-2018, 08:25 PM   #1
CMLambin
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Default Youth hunting morality question

My son is ate up with the outdoors, loves to hunt and fish. He is is seven and is just being introduced to BB guns, .22, shotguns etc. Iím teaching him gun safety and taking it slow so he has a healthy respect for weapons and hunting. I have taught him that you only shoot what you are willing to eat. But Iíve run into a problem because he wants to ďpracticeĒ on squirrels, rabbits, and random birds (just like I did when I was that age). My wife reminds me of what I taught him and Iím conflicted on how I can sell her on letting him cut his teeth on little critters and I also donít want to go back on what I told him. Before yíall tell me to just cook a squirrel, Iíll respectfully pass. Any thoughts on how to broach this. Iím sure yíall have navigated young, enthusiastic kiddos who wanna go out and plink some critters. Thoughts?


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Old 12-18-2018, 08:29 PM   #2
Dale Moser
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Squirrel and rabbit are both fine eating...it's not like they're possums or even coons. No different than eating a deer.


I aint eatin no sparrow, but they're numbers need kept in check....crap on the car and all that. Dad told me he didn't want them in the barn....so I assumed that the ones in the trees and on the shed were probably going to try to land in the barn at some point and that the fieldlarks were not to be trusted either. Grackels and black birds are invasive just like rats or ants....die!

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Old 12-18-2018, 08:34 PM   #3
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I was raised the same way. My dad was an avid hunter but always taught me you don’t kill something just to kill it. He took away my BB gun for shooting random birds in the backyard. I instilled that same principal in my boys. It’s different if you are talking about nuisance varmints. (Like feral hogs)
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:37 PM   #4
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I think it's a good time to explain to him that just because you can eat something doesn't mean you should. Some things need their numbers reduced that aren't good to eat. Skunks,raccoons and opossums are egg eaters. By shooting them you help ground nesting birds. Same goes for shooting predators like coyotes. Some things cause a nuisance and carry diseases. For example rats and mice. And then there are feral species that need shot. The list goes on and on. Nothing is wasted in nature. If you kill something and don't eat it something else will. And that's called the circle of life.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:37 PM   #5
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I kill wasp, coyotes, 100+ hogs on most years, army worms,grasshoppers... and tons of $$&% I don’t eat. That rule is bunk. I’ve killed more sparrows in my youth than I could ever care to count.

But every situation is different and I won’t tell you how to handle it, but sometimes killing legal stuff is fun and it dang sure don’t hurt anything as they usually need a thinning out







2 years after I left home my parents neighbor called me. Squirrels were eating his new house apart. Said he would be gone that day if I could help take care of it, lol. Killed a limit and never left my tailgate
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:37 PM   #6
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If you havent had squirrel, you should. Have hime shoot squirrels, then learn to cook them. They're delicious.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:39 PM   #7
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I say let the boy shoot but that’s just me.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:39 PM   #8
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Practice on paper or cans. If I shot a robin or a field lark I ate it. . . whether I wanted to or not. Dad was cool with me shooting grasshoppers with a BB gun, but he taught me we didn't kill for the sake of killing.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:40 PM   #9
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Hope you never have a coyote problem...


Let him shoot!
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:41 PM   #10
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Would you practice what you preach if you shot a snake on the front porch in front of him? Or a rat that's been chewing up wires on a vehicle? One animal is really no different from another. They're all made out of meat.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:41 PM   #11
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Sometimes critters need killin so that other critters can get a good meal. I kill every armadillo I see. I refuse to kill possum...I’ve actually started feeding them as they eat ticks.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:44 PM   #12
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My kids ate squirrels, rabbits, woodpeckers, red birds, and anything else they shot. That was just part of the deal. You kill it, you grill it.

There are exceptions for varmits! Skunks, armadillos, opossums, etc. they are live targets
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:49 PM   #13
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There may be to many upity folks in your neighborhood but there are lots of folks would love to have some fresh squirrel or rabbit to eat. There is a guy on our lease that has a waiting list of people that want the coons he traps
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:51 PM   #14
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Critters need thinin down sometimes.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ouch View Post
If you havent had squirrel, you should. Have hime shoot squirrels, then learn to cook them. They're delicious.

Plate of fried cat squirrel backs is delicious !!!


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Old 12-18-2018, 08:55 PM   #16
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There wasn't a bird that was safe when I was a kid. I'd turn him loose. A squirrel is a rat with a bushy tail. I still shoot them for fun as a grown man.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:05 PM   #17
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Shootin birds and squirrels and all that when I was little made me a good shot. Especially when I moved from a pellet gun to a .22
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:07 PM   #18
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I went through the "try to kill everything" phase as well. Hunted birds and rabbit with a BB and pellet gun. Heck, I was a bit of a **** and would try to run squirrel and rabit over with the truck any chance I got. I can't really explain this other than young and stupid. Then I started hunting them. This built a level of respect that I now feel for them.

As for armadillos.... I have declared Jihad on them and have relied on guerilla warfare tactics to combat them. They seem to dig perfect sized holes that cause my kidneys to turn to jello when hitting them with the mower. They are not safe anywhere near my yard.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:11 PM   #19
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I have a seven year old the same way, birds are a small moving target and teach a kid patience and accuracy. Now squirrels are a different story they are varmin and tear up way too much at the cabin, if he wants to eat one we will but the are killed on sight. Rabbits we leave alone except in the winter if we want to eat one, and possums get a pass the help clean up the bone pile. Skunks are a whatever if you want to the go for it, armadillos are a no the land owner likes to see them. There are a few other critters I won't name that are shot on sight but they prey on other critters that we are trying to help make a come back. oh I forget the coons it doesn't matter how they die bullets, arrows, tires, baseball bats or napalm they go.

Last edited by mrc; 12-18-2018 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smart View Post
Hope you never have a coyote problem...


Let him shoot!
This!!! Gotta eat what you kill? BS. I killed a rat the other day in the barn....we ate chicken that night. God's creatures are all God's creatures, but I won't eat a possum, raccoon (again), skunk, etc, but I sure have killed a bunch of them. I do like to eat squirrel and rabbits and I think if he kills one, you should clean them and eat them or give them away to someone that will but if you don't, so what. If he kills a bird....well, good shootin'.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:21 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
Squirrel and rabbit are both fine eating...it's not like they're possums or even coons. No different than eating a deer.


I aint eatin no sparrow, but they're numbers need kept in check....crap on the car and all that. Dad told me he didn't want them in the barn....so I assumed that the ones in the trees and on the shed were probably going to try to land in the barn at some point and that the fieldlarks were not to be trusted either. Grackels and black birds are invasive just like rats or ants....die!


Dale is spot on.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:24 PM   #22
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Let his first kill be something he can dress, cook, and eat. Folks have eaten squirrels/rabbits for generations. It wonít kill ya. Stick to your principles, at least during his younger hunting years. Introduce killing for population management later. It will make him a more responsible hunter.

Make sure what he kills is legal. Many backyard birds are not...
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:26 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
Squirrel and rabbit are both fine eating...it's not like they're possums or even coons. No different than eating a deer.


I aint eatin no sparrow, but they're numbers need kept in check....crap on the car and all that. Dad told me he didn't want them in the barn....so I assumed that the ones in the trees and on the shed were probably going to try to land in the barn at some point and that the fieldlarks were not to be trusted either. Grackels and black birds are invasive just like rats or ants....die!
This

Gary
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:31 PM   #24
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Sounds like a good time to teach him how to identify the game animals and protected animals in your yard and the ones that are legal to take. Let him shoot what's legal and not what isn't. Plenty of old cans and the like lying around for target practice as well.
Invasive species should be encouraged to be taken.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:31 PM   #25
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When the tree rats get in your feed room you'll change your mind. Want my son to enjoy hunting. He told me he wants to bbq the next squirrel he shoots. Lot of critters need shooting if they come in the yard.

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Old 12-18-2018, 09:32 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Low Fence View Post
I kill wasp, coyotes, 100+ hogs on most years, army worms,grasshoppers... and tons of $$&% I donít eat. That rule is bunk. Iíve killed more sparrows in my youth than I could ever care to count.

But every situation is different and I wonít tell you how to handle it, but sometimes killing legal stuff is fun and it dang sure donít hurt anything as they usually need a thinning out







2 years after I left home my parents neighbor called me. Squirrels were eating his new house apart. Said he would be gone that day if I could help take care of it, lol. Killed a limit and never left my tailgate
This right here!
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:34 PM   #27
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This is the best way to teach a kid how to actually hunt. Most kids (mine included) were taught to shoot because they started on killing deer. When I was young we were allowed to kill birds except for Mockingbirds or Cardinals. Dont ask me why my dad picked those two. On the squirrels, I cleaned every one of them and would give them away to older folks that I knew ate them. Win-Win. Good luck and sounds like you are raising your kiddo right.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:36 PM   #28
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You answered your own questions. Do you need us to make you feel better? Squirrel and rabbit are fine eating just like everyone else has said. Why don’t you show your child that you can step out of your comfort zone and eat those animals.

As far as the birds only shoot ones you are willing to eat. I’m not seeing the big deal.

My kids love to eat what they kill. When I cook dinner it’s like a competition on who supplied dinner
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:39 PM   #29
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What’s wrong with squirrel and rabbit. Are you a hunter or a grocery cart pusher?
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:48 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtp View Post
This is the best way to teach a kid how to actually hunt. Most kids (mine included) were taught to shoot because they started on killing deer. When I was young we were allowed to kill birds except for Mockingbirds or Cardinals. Dont ask me why my dad picked those two. On the squirrels, I cleaned every one of them and would give them away to older folks that I knew ate them. Win-Win. Good luck and sounds like you are raising your kiddo right.
That's pretty funny in that my dad had about the same rules. No Mockingbirds and no Cardinals or Jays. I learned to clean a squirrel before I learned how to do long division. If my mom or grandma didn't want them, you could bet that Mrs. Singletary that lived across the road would take them. Of course, Mrs. Singletary cooked the crawdads for us to eat, that we pulled out of the ditch after a rain....not big good crawfish, but small, thin-shelled mudbugs that tasted like the ditch they came out of. Man, I miss being a kid.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:49 PM   #31
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Attachment 938435

I just dont see the hate toward a possum, they eat real good if you cut the yellow fat out.

Last edited by Radar; 06-05-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:52 PM   #32
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Squirrel is one of the finest game meats there is!
As far as killing stuff just to kill it, I'm not a fan.


Small game hunting is an excellent intro to the practical and ethical side of hunting, sounds like you already know the right thing to do just by asking the question.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:59 PM   #33
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My kid has been taught that we dont shoot what we don't eat. Pretty simple.

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Old 12-18-2018, 10:05 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMLambin View Post
My son is ate up with the outdoors, loves to hunt and fish. He is is seven and is just being introduced to BB guns, .22, shotguns etc. Iím teaching him gun safety and taking it slow so he has a healthy respect for weapons and hunting. I have taught him that you only shoot what you are willing to eat. But Iíve run into a problem because he wants to ďpracticeĒ on squirrels, rabbits, and random birds (just like I did when I was that age). My wife reminds me of what I taught him and Iím conflicted on how I can sell her on letting him cut his teeth on little critters and I also donít want to go back on what I told him. Before yíall tell me to just cook a squirrel, Iíll respectfully pass. Any thoughts on how to broach this. Iím sure yíall have navigated young, enthusiastic kiddos who wanna go out and plink some critters. Thoughts?


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squirrels and rabbits eat just fine,, along with assorted birds teach him which birds are protected let him kill and eat some that are not,,, likely the bird phase will pass quickly when he finds out how small most are,, and of course how good some are like dove and quail
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Old 12-18-2018, 10:36 PM   #35
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I also bowfish... and I ain’t eating:

Shad
Buffalo
Carp
Bowfin
Spotted gar

But they need a good killing..... “just for the sake of killing” from time to time
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:04 PM   #36
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Squirrels are "game animals" under TPWD regulations. Killing them and not keeping the meat in edible condition is considered wanton waste and will get you a ticket.

Teaching respect for ALL animals is an important early lesson for young hunters. If you're not going to eat it don't kill it.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:02 AM   #37
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When I was young, we had a few outside cats. I would always walk out the door with my benjamin and tell my mom "I'm off to go get food for the cats". I didn't think about when I was younger, but now that I'm older I realize I wasn't being wasteful. No different from shooting coons or coyotes in my eyes. Kid has to sharpen his skills from an early age.

PS. Cats will not eat blackbirds, woodpeckers or field larks.
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Old 12-19-2018, 12:05 AM   #38
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I think it’s a great general rule with common sense exceptions.

You really should try squirrel. I miss my grandpas squirrel gumbo!
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Old 12-19-2018, 01:48 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMLambin View Post
My son is ate up with the outdoors, loves to hunt and fish. He is is seven and is just being introduced to BB guns, .22, shotguns etc. Iím teaching him gun safety and taking it slow so he has a healthy respect for weapons and hunting. I have taught him that you only shoot what you are willing to eat. But Iíve run into a problem because he wants to ďpracticeĒ on squirrels, rabbits, and random birds (just like I did when I was that age). My wife reminds me of what I taught him and Iím conflicted on how I can sell her on letting him cut his teeth on little critters and I also donít want to go back on what I told him. Before yíall tell me to just cook a squirrel, Iíll respectfully pass. Any thoughts on how to broach this. Iím sure yíall have navigated young, enthusiastic kiddos who wanna go out and plink some critters. Thoughts?


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Well, you show him how to clean said rabbit, squirrel and random birds, they are all tasty. Teach him various ways to cook said animals, they are tasty. I was taught this by my parents and grandparents. If I killed it, we cooked it and ate it. Many squirrels, rabbits, quail, woodcock, fell to my good aim. It taught me the value of Gods creations and the importance of not wasting game.
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:39 AM   #40
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I've got a 10 yo and a 6 yo, and they love to hunt and shoot! I tell them they need to eat what they kill, and we eat rabbits(chicken), dove(beef), and whatever else they shoot in a roundabout manner. And btw, meadowlarks and sparrows are ok to eat, just lack the volume in the breast.
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:56 AM   #41
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That's a fine rule ( must eat what you kill) but most of us killed all sorts of stuff growing up we didn't eat. I bought 11 ac so my son could roam the woods with his gamo. He is going to kill stuff we are not going to eat. He is developing his skills the way I see it. And he in not killing anywhere near what I did back in the day. As he gets older the rule applies much more.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:46 AM   #42
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Let the boys shoot. Squirrel and rabbit is fine table fair. My dad has the Mockingbird, Cardinal run when i was a kid.

I will never forget getting a .22 cal Benjamin pellet gun for Christmas as a kid. There wasn't anything after that.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:59 AM   #43
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We kill for 2 reasons in our house. Eating and “management”. Which to us means hogs, predators, and some small critters are going down ever year. Aim for a quick clean ethical kill regardless of what we are shooting. None of this “gut-shot them and let them run off and die somewhere else” stuff. We will teach our kiddos the same. This is Just what we do in our house.

If you were open to this idea of killing for eating and management, You could start teaching the boy about the management aspect. “We have too many squirrels, I think if we take X number this month/year/what ever then they will be in overall better shape” then turn him lose.

This allows the boy to shoot, while still adhering to some guidelines.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:02 AM   #44
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I was on a great hill country lease a few years ago...loaded with deer, turkey, and a few exotics. One weekend a few of the guys drove the roads shooting jackrabbits and left them where they fell. The rancher/landowner drove through tending his cows and saw what they had done and was NOT happy about it to say the least. We all got kicked off the lease for the actions of a couple of slobs. The same guys who only took the backstraps and hindquarters because they couldn't steak out the front shoulders and considered them unfit to eat.
Just because you can legally kill something doesn't mean you should. Most folks who don't hunt see no problem with killing animals to eat, but killing just to kill and wasting edible meat reflects bad on hunters as a whole and closes doors for all of us.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:09 AM   #45
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Man up. Eat squirrel and rabbit. Seriously, get out of your culinary comfort zone. They are both great table fare. This will teach him even more lessons, like trying new things, or not saying things your not sure about if your not willing to follow through on them.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:20 AM   #46
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Only kill what you will eat.

*Exceptions: hogs, coyotes, feral cats, feral dogs, coons, possums, venomous snakes, rodents, black panthers & liberals
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:30 AM   #47
okrattler
Pope & Young
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
Hunt In: Oklahoma
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I think you need to cook up a coyote and prove yourself wrong in front of him. When you both see how crappy it taste just say....well you don't have to eat everything you kill. I'm a silly Sally for even saying that in the first place. My bad. I'm sure he'll understand.
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:53 AM   #48
CMLambin
Eight Point
 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: The Woodlands
Hunt In: S. Texas, Illinois, NY, wherever else the road takes me.
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GREAT answers guys! Thank you so much. I didnít mean to strike a cord with people about not eating squirrel. The question wasnít about what to eat or not eat, it was a question about how to teach a kid to have more respect then I did, but also allow him to develop the skills I did for shooting/hunting. Either way, Yíall have convinced me to go ahead and cook up the next squirrel we shoot. Thank yíall again for the thoughtful answers.


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Old 12-19-2018, 08:01 AM   #49
diamonde40
Ten Point
 
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Luling, Texas
Hunt In: Fife, Texas
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You could take him to a gun range and get him in to plinking. The sounds of hitting the metal targets is something that he would enjoy hearing and be proud of himself for doing so good. And as he gets older LONG RANGE shooting. Target hits are cool and nothing had to die just to die. My opinion.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:11 AM   #50
Feathershredder
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Tomball
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Make him clean the game that he shoots and if you don't want to eat it, give it away. I used to love shooting rabbits, but after shooting 49 and cleaning them all in one day. I wasn't so trigger happy anymore.
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