A Grandma’s Perspective

In Diana Lyles by DOE Diaries Staff Member

I’ve been hunting for over 40 years and this past Deer Season was one of the best seasons I have ever had. It wasn’t because I killed a big buck. It was because I got to share my love for the outdoors and hunting with my thirteen year-old granddaughter.

Until this year, the interest in hunting from my grandkids has been minimal. I’m not the type to force it on any of my five grandkids and have waited for the desire to hunt to be theirs, not mine for them. I’m always hoping that they will ask to go and learn about what grandma does in the great outdoors. However if they don’t and their lives take them on a different path I’ll still love them and be here for them. That’s what grandmas do!

When my youngest asked to go with me I was so excited! She was eager to learn and I was eager to teach her. She went with me and watched what I did, asked why, and got just as frustrated as I did when I missed a doe.

She wanted to shoot a deer herself so I went to work teaching her gun safety and shooting. Just starting out I wanted her to become confident in herself and her ability to handle a gun so I showed her all this with a 20 gauge shotgun. She was scared to death to shoot it and had me stand behind her every time and hold onto her shoulders. It wasn’t surprising that she was a great shot. We started out with birdshot and moved up to a slug. She wasn’t fazed by the difference in the recoil from one to the other and was ready to kill her first deer.

You would think at thirteen I would have to drag her out of bed at 430AM but I didn’t. She was always up and ready (except once when she stayed up half the night talking with her cousin). She wasn’t too keen on walking into the dark woods to sit in the blind but she quickly overcame her fear to fulfill her passion.

Her chance to kill a deer didn’t come this season. Eager to learn more she made her Dad bring her to the house after I texted her one morning that I had shot a doe. She wanted to help clean it! She didn’t hesitate and jumped right in, pulling the hide down, holding the deer still for me to skin it, asking “what is that” and helping me dispose of the carcass.

We didn’t kill a deer together this season but the time we spent together was priceless and the memories we made will last a lifetime for both of us.

As soon as hunting season was over, we moved into squirrel season and she was all about it!! She knew her chances of killing a squirrel were greater than killing a deer and she was ready to pull that trigger. Our first afternoon was a success and she got her first kill. I don’t know who was more excited, me or her. We both were smiling from ear to ear and I of course shed some tears, yes over her killing a squirrel. (When she kills her first deer I’m going to be a mushy mess!)

When I told my granddaughter about Doe Diaries and GEN7 Outdoors she was excited as well. I asked her what this past hunting season meant to her and this is what she wrote:

“I think hunting is a great sport and I really enjoy it with my grandmother. She is my hunting inspiration, she is so good at it and I hope one day I get to kill a big buck and put it on my walls just like she did.

I remember when I first shot the shotgun I was scared to death because I thought it would have a big kick to it, so I made my grandma stand behind me every time I shot it. The first time I shot the gun without her was the very last day of deer season, it was in the evening and she was like “come on we have to shoot at a tree to end the season” and It happened so quick I didn’t even ask her to stand behind me, but as we were walking back up to the golf cart I told her “that was the first time I shot the gun without you behind me” I was so proud of myself I couldn’t help but smile.

The best part of hunting is when you kill something (Squirrel, deer, bobcat, etc.).The first thing I killed was a squirrel and I remember my exact words “I want the one with the fluffy tail!” I was very happy. As soon as I shot it my grandma said “you got it, you got it.” All I wanted to do was walk out of the blind and see if it was the one I wanted. When I couldn’t wait any longer we finally went out of the blind… it was the one with the fluffy tail!

I am so grateful to have someone in my family that hunts, because without my grandma I wouldn’t have had all the great times I had, thank you for letting me join this journey with you.”

As she noted above I shared a tradition with her. At the end of every season after the last sunset I’ve always pointed to the trees and fired off a shot ending the season with a bang. (Shotgun only.) I knew she hadn’t fired the shotgun without me standing behind her and I wanted her to see she could do it. Sending the season out with a bang was the perfect opportunity. Her reaction to shooting by herself was priceless and again I was brought to tears.

It means the world to me to pass the tradition of hunting onto anyone but passing it on to my granddaughter has been very special to me. I believe deeply that we as outdoorsmen and women need to make sure the sport of hunting is carried on from generation to generation. It’s our responsibility to make sure this doesn’t end with us, we have to share our knowledge and experience(s) with everyone no matter their age. That’s my number one reason for joining Doe Diaries and I can’t wait to share my love for hunting, fishing, and God’s gift of the great outdoors with you.