For Ryan Sabalow of the Indianapolis Star, there was no question regarding whether he would one day take his daughter hunting, the only question was when.
“While Layla is certainly still far too young to pull a trigger, we don’t think there’s anything shameful about a 4 1/2-year-old being with me as I bring death to the food that ends up on our plates,” Sabalow writes, noting that he has clear memories of going hunting with his family as a child.
By taking his little girl along for a hunt, Sabalow helps to instill in her the same sense of pride and family that his father instilled in him. When Sabalow writes of the first time he killed an animal, the pride he felt when his family sat down to eat what he had provided.
“At last, I was an official part of the tribe,” he writes.
“These memories are so strong that, to this day, when I catch a whiff of the pungent, sage-y smell of raw venison, I’m reminded of my dad and our adventures together. It makes me smile.”
While some my find Sabalow’s actions inhumane, he believes that teaching his daughter about the cycle of life, and how to provide for herself is a necessity. Armed with a shotgun and a small boat, Sabalow took his daughter out to a quiet pond, where she watched him hunt their evening dinner.
Later on that night, as they were pulling their food from the grill, Ryan hoped that his daughter had learned something.
“Still, even with such a poor shooting performance, we managed to take home five doves and, I hope, the same kinds of memories that have stuck with me all these years.”