Take A Kid Hunting

A proud dad moment for Steve

By Steve Hamilton

Since she could come out with me, my daughter Kayleigh has been excited to tag along on hunting and trapping days.


We have taken a few animals together and she has grown up eating wild game I have taken for the freezer. The other night, on a rare occasion, we had beef – and she made the comment, “This tastes different.” She knows where her food comes from.

She has been asking for as long as I can remember to get her hunting license. In BC, you must be 10 years old to take the course or challenge the exam.


For her 10th birthday in September 2022, I presented her with a “Dad’s Gift Certificate” for one CORE course, to be cashed in when she was ready.

CORE stands for conservation and outdoor recreation education. Passing this is the pre-cursor to getting your BC hunting license.


On the weekend of April 29, 2023, she cashed it in. We sat together in the class inside the Spruce City Wildlife Association Clubhouse in Prince George for 16 hours, her taking in all the instruction from 40-plus years of experience in that classroom.

I am so incredibly proud to say that on April 30 Miss K passed her CORE with 100 per cent in practical firearm handling and 93 per cent on her written test.

That night, she came home beaming and called grandma in Kamloops to ask for permission to hunt on the ranch in September, and she was granted it. There was no doubt, but she was starting out right by asking for permission. Imagine her getting to take her first deer where her mom grew up.

Paperwork to the BC Wildlife Federation was next, and that was back inside a week.

Now, finding a left-handed rifle was tough, but thanks to a couple of friends in the industry, I was called the second one came into inventory. A youth compact chambered in 243, with a removable muzzle brake. Although she has fired hundreds of rounds down range from a .22 and a .17HMR, this is a step up. A perfect shooting round for her first couple of years, and the brake so she does not develop a flinch.

Today, I was excited to take her to Service BC and buy her first hunting license, and tags for mule deer and whitetail deer.

The first week of September, as we rounded a corner, there it was. Slowly loading the 410 shotgun, she raised it and remembered all she was taught and pulled the trigger. In the blink of an instant, a ruffed grouse was down and she had provided for the family. A hunter was born.

Taking a life is never easy, but it’s a necessary part of our evolution.

For us to live, something must die. Meat-eater, omnivore, vegan or vegetarian. We all have an impact. We choose to know that process from lake to plate and from field to table.

If you can, take a kid hunting. Teach them where their food comes from. I was not given that opportunity as a kid, growing up in the Lower Mainland of BC. I had joined the Men’s Camp when I was about eight or so for a couple of nights, then I did not forage into the hunting world until I was in my 20s and on my own. I feel like I missed out on a lot of chances to connect with the outdoors and what it entails. And with myself.

If you don’t hunt and have questions, reach out to someone who does. I guarantee, all would be more than happy to answer them, and even give you some help and guidance on getting a license if you so choose. Reach out to me at the BC Wildlife Federation and I will be more than willing as well.

If you don’t want to hunt or are against it, that’s fine too. We won’t push our views on you, and I would hope the same is granted in return. Know there are some that rely on hunting, for both the food and the memories it gives us.

I have had death threats more than once because I have been vocal about providing for my family and I advocate for those that choose this way of life.

Sit in a still forest an hour before daybreak and listen to an elk bugle. Be up before the birds and watch that sunrise crest the horizon. Ride in a truck all day and reach for nothing except the conversation and camaraderie it brings. The snort of a deer as it busts you. These things will all give you goosebumps, and you will remember each moment for years to come.
And one day, you will reminisce with your kids about these days long past, as they bring your grandchildren into this… this feeling that cannot be described, yet we pursue it every single year.

We chase so much more than the kill.


Steve Hamilton calls Prince George home and is the conservation, hunting, angling and firearms policy and engagement co-ordinator for the BC Wildlife Federation.