How to Make Hunting a Family Affair
How to Make Hunting a Family Affair
By Aisling Ayers
To kickoff hunting season, Wheeler’s Western Outfitters is proud to feature loyal customer, father and friend, Shannon DeLaune in this month’s Wheeler’s Western Outfitters Customer Spotlight. A lifelong hunter, DeLaune now has the privilege of handing down his hunting knowledge to his children and shares a few tips on hunting with your family.
DeLaune moved to the Hill Country of Boerne, Texas in 2000 so he could have a place for his horses, but still be close to San Anotion. He married his wife, Holly, in 2005 who shares his love for horses and the outdoors. They say their greatest adventure is their 9-year-old twins, Mason and Madison, and introducing them to all the things they love to do as a family.
Bird hunting has always been something DeLaune and his family have enjoyed doing, and he is proud to recommend Wheeler’s Western Outfitters for everything you may need for the hunt. “You name it and I’ve bought it at Wheeler’s. Hunting season begins with buying my license there. I’ve also bought everything from clothing, ammo and optics to coolers at Wheeler’s. They really have absolutely everything that you need for the field. Just walking in there makes me happy,” DeLaune admitted.
PASSING DOWN A LOVE FOR THE HUNT
DeLaune began bird hunting when he was twelve-years-old in West Texas. Crediting his introduction to the world of bird hunting to his granddad, he recalls some of his childhood memories include riding around the farm together and shooting quail.
Dove hunting and quality time spent with friends has always gone hand in hand for DeLaune. “Even though South Texas has tremendous bird hunting, it’s the comradery that bird hunting provides that’s special. When you’re spending time with the guys in the field, the hunting is almost secondary to the laughter and enjoyment that you get out of it,” DeLaune explained
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Now that DeLaune has a family of his own, he wants to pass down his love for hunting and make it a family affair, which he admits a lot of the time means that he spends most of his time instructing, loading gear and making sure everyone is set up.
He remembers taking his wife on her first bird hunt. “I remember teaching her how to spot a flying dove and working on her aim. Once she shot her first one, she was hooked,” said DeLaune. He says that watching his family get involved is “the good stuff” and that he loves to hunt himself, but hunting together has taken his love for hunting to a new level.
When asked if their family had a bird-dog, DeLaune laughed as he revealed that their son Mason loves bird hunting so much that there’s no need for one, “he’s got the fetching birds part down … he just waits for us to tell him when he can go.” Naturally, DeLaune took Mason on his first dove hunt when he was five and he said “he’s loved it from the beginning.”
His daughter Madison, on the other hand, doesn’t quite share Mason’s sa
me passion for the hunt and would much rather explore nearby, finding her own “treasures.” However, she’s always coming along for the ride and loves to support her brother and dad. “She’s more of an animal lover and hunting at this point in her life just hasn’t appealed to her yet, but she does enjoy target practice” DeLaune explained.
KIDS AND HUNTING
DeLaune began teaching his kids to hunt the same way that he first learned how, with a BB gun. He emphasized how important it was for them to treat every gun like it’s loaded, point it in safe directions, and to understand that it could kill whatever it points at.
It didn’t take long for Mason to want to move onto the next bigger and better thing. Last year, DeLaune began teaching Mason how to shoot a shotgun on a clay shooting range at a friend’s ranch. “I let him experience the power of the shotgun and experience the exhilaration, but also how dangerous it could be if not handled properly,” DeLaune remembered. “As the kids become more familiar with the weapon, the safety aspect just becomes second nature,” DeLaune said.
An exciting moment for the entire family occurred last year when Mason shot his first deer in South Texas. DeLaune “couldn’t have been more proud” and shared that there were several reasons why the moment was so special. Several of DeLaune’s friends that had been hunting with him since 1990 joined him on the hunt that day. “We’ve all been hunting together since we were kids, and to be able to experience that with my son and those two friends was a wonderful experience. Getting to pass something like that down to the next generation was pretty special,” DeLaune recalled.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GUN SAFETY
Throughout DeLaune’s many years around guns, he has remained proactive in strict gun safety. If he could highlight one thing, it would be having open and active discussion about safety all of the time. Gun safety isn’t just a ‘one and
done’ deal. It takes more than one conversation, no matter how experienced the shooter is. According to DeLaune, “Even if it’s engrained in someone’s head, it has to be actively discussed.”
No matter if you’re young or old, nor how many years you’ve spent around guns, take a tip from Shannon DeLaune’s book and be dedicated in your commitment to keeping yourself and your loved ones safe around guns.
BEFORE THE HUNT CHECKLIST: GEAR UP AT WHEELER’S
An enjoyable hunt is always one that you prepared for! There is nothing worse than getting out in the field and realizing you don’t have something you need. Print off this checklist to help organize your next bird hunt. Remember, most of these items can be found at Wheeler’s Western Outfitters.
- First things first, don’t forget: hunting license, wallet with money and your license, hunting dog
- Get Outfitted: Gameguard camo shirt, Wrangler jeans, snake boots, hat, sunglasses
- For the hunt: shotgun, gun case, shells, bird bag, Choke Tube wrench, Gun Smith screwdrivers, Wild Game bucket, knife
- Bird Dog Needs: dog food, water bowl, chew toy
- For Camp: Yeti coolers & cups with plenty of ice and drinks, flashlights, Wet Wipes, bungee cords, folding chairs, Ziploc bags, sharpie, snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent