I watched him do it. He thought he was sneaky, but the keen eyes of a father miss very little. He glanced over his left shoulder, then his right and quickly snatching the iPad from the shelf. He whirled around, hoping to find an escape route to his room, but instead he bumped directly into my chest.
“Didn’t you lose that gadget and all other technology for a week,” I asked.
I could see the wheels turning. His brain tried hard to muster a response that would keep him from losing all his gaming devices for another week. It didn’t work. He’d been caught red-handed.
No, I’m not a technology curmudgeon. And, no, I don’t expect my kids to spend every waking moment outdoors, stick-and-string in hand. My worry – as I’ve seen it firsthand – is just how addicting all this gaming technology is.
My son is 11 years old and was raised in the outdoors. He no doubt loves it, but when I asked him what he wanted for Christmas his reply was instant: “My own iPhone, Dad.” Not arrows. Not a new bow. Not new camo clothing. Nope, an iPhone. What does an 11-year-old need an iPhone for?
Guess what? He isn’t getting one.
He’s getting a few things that will pull his face from the screen and get him up and out the door. Here’s a few ideas I’ve turned up, things his mother and I may drop some coin on. Feel free to steal them. Let’s bust this technology curse together.
1. Archery Lessons
Yes I’m an accomplished archer and bowhunter; but I learned much of what I know from the school of hard knocks. I enjoy shooting with my son and helping him develop, but I can be a little impatient. I have a good buddy – a pro shooter and owner of a close-by pro shop – who is willing to give my son some private archery lessons. Most pro shops offer similar services and, even if your son or daughter has never shot a bow before and has no equipment, quality shops have rental equipment available.
Your son or daughter will have a blast and may just find a healthy new addiction.
2. Soup It Up
My son shoots a Bear Apprentice II. While he’s still in love with the bow, he isn’t in love with the sight, rest and stabilizer that came with it.
It’s time for an accessory upgrade. Here are a few items I’m looking at:
QAD’s UltraRest HDX cloaked in bright orange. Orange, after all, is his favorite color. I’ve used the rest for years and it’s never failed me.
As for a sight, I’m planning to go with HHA’s Optimizer Lite Cadet. It’s a solid single-pin sight that tips the scales at just 4.8 ounces (you don’t want new accessories to greatly increase the overall weight of the bow), is easily adjustable and, at $70, doesn’t break the bank.
As for a stabilizer, I really like 365 Archery’s KnockOut 5-inch model. The stabilizer boasts a cool, youthful look and performs wonderfully when it comes to noise and vibration reduction.
Strings and Cables
I’m tinkering with the idea of adding a little flair to the overall package by ordering a set of neon orange strings and cables from Vapor Trail. This is a simple process and can be done right on the company’s website. There are tons of color combinations to choose from.
3. A New Rig
My son loves his Apprentice II, but the Cruzer RTH from Bear has caught my eye. The bow has a mass weight of 3.6 pounds and a brace height of 6.5 inches. It features a draw-length range from 12 to 30 inches. It’s draw-weight adjustable between 5 and 70 pounds. Best of all, perhaps: the bow is available in Realtree, Shadow, Pink Camo, Orange Camo, Blue Camo and Purple Camo. You know which color I’m leaning toward.
The bow comes outfitted with quality Trophy Ridge accessories and retails for $500.
4. His Own Tote
I don’t know about your kids but my little man is infatuated with my pack. Sure he has his own, but it’s a cheap little Walmart model that offers limited room and very few pockets. My boy loves pockets. He’s taken a liking to my Badlands Monster ($140), and I think it may be time to get him his own. This pack features seven pockets and more than 1,000 cubic inches of storage space, and it’s constructed from durable KXO-32 fabric. The pack is easily adjustable, is available in Badlands’ new Approach pattern and tips the scales at just 2 pounds, 10 ounces.
5. New Camo
Even though I grew up with stick-and-leaf camo patterns, today’s digital patterns are what the younger crowd is craving. When my son and his friends go rifling through my garage, they are drawn to new-generation patterns like those from Sitka, Badlands, Kuiu, Kryptex, Browning and Under Armour.
6. His Own Release
My boy gets hand-me-down releases. Maybe it’s time to change that. I’m seriously considering the new Buzz ($60) from Scott Archery. It’s available in an array of color options including blue, pink, purple, green and orange. This release is light and compact, featuring a single-jaw caliper design.
What get-them-outdoors gifts are you getting your son or daughter? I still need some help, so drop me a line at email@example.com. I’d love to hear your ideas.