National Hunting and Fishing Festival

We attended the Pisgah Forest National Hunting and Fishing Festival on September 24th.

The first thing we did was stop at a booth and picked up a map showing us where all the activities were, and they gave us bags of free fish food, and some camo backpack gift bags, donated by a local church. 

Inside these camo/hunting type gift bags were snacks such as trail mix and beef jerky, hand warmers that hunters use in cold weather, a bottle of water with a scripture label on it, and a new testament bible.  The kids were thrilled!

The next thing we did was feed the fish in the hatchery.  Pisgah Forest Hatchery raises two kinds of trout: 

Brown Trout,

and Rainbow Trout.

We were all given bags of free fish food and the children had so much fun feeding the fish. 

Daddy had fun too……

Each tank had fish grouped by sizes.  Some tanks had babies, some juveniles, and some are adults ready to be released into the mountain streams.

OK, don’t laugh!  My husband thinks it is great fun to get the camera away from me and take some “end of the pregnancy” pictures.  Only three weeks left until my due date.  I feel like a duck carrying a watermelon.  I waddle like a duck too!  I wish I had worn a more flattering outfit, or something….. But what are you going to do?  He said it was only fair to include this picture, because I take so many pictures of him.  I am really looking forward to holding our new baby soon, and hopefully getting some of my girly figure back.  So stay tuned for some healthy mommy, post delivery stories!

The next activity the children did, was practice casting fishing poles and catching rubber fish with a rubber bait.  It was more fun than it sounds. 

The children could cast out their line with the bait on it pretty far into a grass field.  The goal was to get their baited line as close as they could to the fish in the grass.  Then if they placed it just right, as they slowly reeled in the line, the rubber bait would catch hold of a raised lip on the fish and “catch” the fish if they were lucky. 

Then they were to reel in the fish the rest of the way and unhook it, then throw the fish back out into the grassy field for the next cast.  This was really good practice for casting and aiming their fishing lines.  After a couple of tries, they really got the hang of it and captured several of the fish.

Next, we headed over to the shooting range.  It was set up with bow and arrow activities and bb gun activities.

The targets for the bow and arrow were a bear and a deer.

Even my four year old got hands on experience with the instructor, learning how to shoot the bow and arrows.

My eleven year old son is a natural at shooting the bow and arrows.

He got off some great shots, and on his last shot he hit the kill zone bullseye.

The targets for the bb guns were bullseye paper targets.  The kids really enjoyed the shooting range activity and learning from the various instructors.

The next activity was an indoor laser shooting range.

Next, the kids took fly fishing lessons and practiced aiming their line into the hoola hoop in the grass.

And they learned about making fly baits and jigs with feathers, hooks, and more.

And watched skilled fishermen fly fishing in the river.

Next, the kids went into a hunting and trapping area.  There were several booths set up.

At this first booth, the kids learned about taxidermy, and various animal structures.

Then, this fella gave a demonstration on using different kinds of duck and goose calls when hunting wild ducks and geese on a lake.   He also shared about rabbit hunting with his hunting dogs, and h
is experiences wild hog and deer hunting.

At this booth by Haywood College, the children matched the foot prints with the scat, or poop, of the animal that it belonged to.  All of these animals can be found in the forest and it is important to know how to read the signs (scat and tracks) left behind by the animals. 

At this booth, they learned about trapping, skinning, and tanning hides.

At this booth by the Forestry Department, they learned more about animal skins, and bones.

They were each given a deer jaw bone to take home with them.

Then these local hunters gave the kids a lesson on how to determine how old the deer was by looking at their teeth.

Next, we tried some delicious deer stew.  It was made with ground deer, water, potatoes, carrots, thyme, salt, milk, (and maybe other delicious seasonings I have forgot), and cooked for 6 hours on an outdoor fire.  It tasted better than any gourmet soup from a restaurant, and was full of great nutrition.  Our chef was a deer hunter and had caught the deer himself and had a local butcher grind steaks for him to use in this delicious recipe.

We also enjoyed Italian spiced, deer smoked sausage, which disappeared faster than I could snap a picture.  It looked just like polish or smoked sausage from the store, but it was made at home with the loving and skilled hands of a deer hunter.  The kids loved it!

We had a great day with hands on learning at the Pisgah Forest National Hunting and Fishing Festival.

Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering is a part of our human heritage.  Our family wants to preserve and pass on this heritage to future generations before the knowledge is lost due to modernization, or outlawed due to activists who don’t value this heritage. 

Having life skills to know how to acquire food, the opportunity to actually go out and hunt for it, and to know how to prepare the food for consumption and survival, are valuable life skills.  Only until the recent two or three generations (less than a hundred years), have men and women not been dependant on hunting, fishing, and gathering to provide for some of their daily or seasonal food needs.  Modernization of our foods and farming, has caused many to become ignorant of the skills that the human race needed since the beginning of time, to hunt and fish to feed themselves, and their family.  

Thank you Pisgah Forest Education Center, and all the wonderful volunteers, for helping to preserve this hunting and fishing heritage through this fun educational program.

How do you teach your kids valuable life skills and survival skills so they will know how to gather or hunt for food if the need arises?  Please leave your comment below, thank you.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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One thought on “National Hunting and Fishing Festival

  1. Joy Post author

    It’s been awhile but we LOVE going there! we have never been to that event though. I love deer meat! (although I could never hunt myself..don’t have a problem with others doing it 😉 That is a great photo! you look great! You will look back and love that photo and that your husband wanted to take it. 3/4 of my pregnancy photos were lost by Walmart. I have one full term pg and only a few photos. 🙁


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