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Kids

Lol, no. This would be a really bad way of broadcasting it.

The TLDR is that my wife and I are very undecided on having kids 5 years into our marriage, and 14 years of being together. We both have agreed that we really enjoy our freedom but we still kind of want one.

There’s way more to this obviously but that’s a lot to type..
That “freedom” that you speak of is replaced with reward. We certainly don’t get out as much as we used to as a couple but I’d rather spend a night in with the kids than go out and do some of the other stuff we did when we had “freedom.” Of course prioritizing our marriage and our own hobbies (mine being hunting) is still extremely important to us. You prioritize what is important to you. I would bet right now I hunt 25% less than I did before kids, but I still go two weeks out of state EVERY year because that was communicated that it wouldn’t end with children. My kids are 5, 3, and 10mos. I’ve been raising a baby for damn near 6 years straight with toddlers compounding it the last few years. I’ll be at 100% of what I was doing before in two years because I take care of business all the other times. Work, kids, wife, volunteering. Yeah, you’re going to have less freedom, but you just have to prioritize and make more time for the things that are important. If hunting is important, kids won’t ever cut into it as much as the reward you get from bringing them into your life. I promise you, if you prioritize it, and work hard at all the other aspects of your life, you won’t ever feel like they’ve cut into your freedom even though you may be forced to do less for a while. Work hard, raise a family, kill some shit, and pray you’re fortunate enough to take your kids along someday.
 
My hunting and fishing reduced quite a bit in the first few years and when they were really young. I bet I still hunted more than the average person, though. Just have to be smart about it, and in particular, communicate with your partner.

All that said, I have 3 kids (14,10,6). Last year I probably hunted more than any year prior in my life. Just a function flexible work, kids being able to either go with me or stay home alone, and my wife getting the hell out of her job in management.

Point is, I wouldn’t stress it. The seasons of life come and go, and there’s more than four of them, and kids though life-changing, become a matter of course in life once they’re in yours.
 
We had the first one planned and the second one happened because, well you understand. Anyways both kids are completely different. I wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. Looking back 5 years ago we weren’t very excited about expecting number 2. But now we wouldn’t change it for the world and I’d hate to be in that stage again. I still hunt, a lot. I might hunt differently but I still hunt, a lot. I’m looking forward to hunting with my kids more and more. I look forward to when I don’t have to do the hunting and they do it all.
 
For me having a kid added way more to my life than hunting ever could. I hunt more than I did pre-kid but a move and career change was a big part of that. I regularly Think of the future hunting memories I will have with my little partner. To me, I’d give up hunting if I had to to have a family, that’s what my priorities are. Hunting or other life stuff will almost always be there, the chance to be a parent isn’t.
 
I’d be interested to hear from folks who are married without kids. Pretty sure that’s very few and far between here.

We’re blessed to have a ton of nieces and nephews that kind of fulfill that part of kids. I have two teenage nephews that made it very clear to me that I wasn’t ready to deal with puberty. I have a niece who’s a preteen and she’s a damn pistol.

Then my wife has a niece who’s in her terrible twos. She really favors me a lot but she can be a handful. I really enjoy them all in their own ways but there’s days where I’m glad I’m just an uncle.
 
I don't think mine changed much, mostly because I've always been kind of a weekend warrior. I had kids when I was in college and our first was a "surprise." But now that two are old enough to hunt themselves I find myself spending more time trying to get their tags filled and not my own...which is super awesome seeing your kids be successful.
 
I’ll also say this. I haven’t ‘adulted’ around the right people.

What I mean by that, is that some other dads tell me that they lost a lot of freedom and this, that and the other after they had kids. They make it really seem like it’s a chore. Hell, when I lived in IL, I had people drool over the fact I went to CO every year for an elk hunt. I’d offer to go deer hunting with them, but no they can’t because of *whatever kid reason*.

Then they turn around and say much the same of what you guys say. Wouldn’t trade it for the world-type stuff.

It’s probably a me problem; I’m too literal I guess.
 
I’ll also say this. I haven’t ‘adulted’ around the right people.

What I mean by that, is that some other dads tell me that they lost a lot of freedom and this, that and the other after they had kids. They make it really seem like it’s a chore. Hell, when I lived in IL, I had people drool over the fact I went to CO every year for an elk hunt. I’d offer to go deer hunting with them, but no they can’t because of *whatever kid reason*.

Then they turn around and say much the same of what you guys say. Wouldn’t trade it for the world-type stuff.

It’s probably a me problem; I’m too literal I guess.
Those dudes were going to find excuses not to go kids or not and the guy's who are gonna go will go kids or no kids.
 
I’ll also say this. I haven’t ‘adulted’ around the right people.

What I mean by that, is that some other dads tell me that they lost a lot of freedom and this, that and the other after they had kids. They make it really seem like it’s a chore. Hell, when I lived in IL, I had people drool over the fact I went to CO every year for an elk hunt. I’d offer to go deer hunting with them, but no they can’t because of *whatever kid reason*.

Then they turn around and say much the same of what you guys say. Wouldn’t trade it for the world-type stuff.

It’s probably a me problem; I’m too literal I guess.
It is a chore, and you should be ready for it. I will tell you this much, people make kids an excuse for personal laziness. People who complain about their kids are lazy. I say that with full disclosure that I have the same exact thoughts at time to time too. Then I realize I’m being a lazy asshole.
 
It is a chore, and you should be ready for it. I will tell you this much, people make kids an excuse for personal laziness. People who complain about their kids are lazy. I say that with full disclosure that I have the same exact thoughts at time to time too. Then I realize I’m being a lazy asshole.
Never thought of it that way. I can be naive… lol
 
I’d be interested to hear from folks who are married without kids. Pretty sure that’s very few and far between here.

We’re blessed to have a ton of nieces and nephews that kind of fulfill that part of kids. I have two teenage nephews that made it very clear to me that I wasn’t ready to deal with puberty. I have a niece who’s a preteen and she’s a damn pistol.

Then my wife has a niece who’s in her terrible twos. She really favors me a lot but she can be a handful. I really enjoy them all in their own ways but there’s days where I’m glad I’m just an uncle.
Absolutely no help but I’m in almost the same boat as you. Wife and I have been together 16 years, married 3 and we occasionally have the kid conversation. She’s a teacher and goes back and forth on also having one at home. My parents had my little brother when I was a senior in high school (best birth control ever for a high school student 😂) so I got to experience most of the things a new parent would. Not sure if I want to go through all that again in my mid 30’s…
 
None really, if anything I hunt more. We have 6 girls and I have spent the majority of our free time hunting and fishing with them. had we not had kids I would have probably hunted a lot more extreme places earlier, but I wouldn’t change it.
 
Absolutely no help but I’m in almost the same boat as you. Wife and I have been together 16 years, married 3 and we occasionally have the kid conversation. She’s a teacher and goes back and forth on also having one at home. My parents had my little brother when I was a senior in high school (best birth control ever for a high school student 😂) so I got to experience most of the things a new parent would. Not sure if I want to go through all that again in my mid 30’s…
It’s interesting you bring that up. My brother had a kid at 18, she was 16, I was 11 or 12 I think. I kind of dipped my toe into raising my first nephew at a very young age. Diaper changes and all as a preteen. I didn’t mind it but he was a good baby boy. Don’t know if I’m there to do it at 32 myself.
 
Does it cut hobby time and “freedom?” Yup. Worth it? Yup.

My boys are getting to the age where it’s not such a burden on mom when I leave for the weekend, but still more work on her part. In my defense, even she admits I’m a better husband and dad the weeks before and right after I get out in the woods.

I love hunting, and am going to have to dial my intensity back a bit when my boys start. I worry about my ability to do that. But at the same time I can’t wait for them to be able to start hunting with me.

I’m going to attempt turkey with my 5 y/o this spring.
 
People have very different expectations about the roles of moms/dads in raising kids. Having kids has not come close to stopping me from hunting, but it has definitely limited the amount I get out, especially when they were younger. There were also a couple of years when I had the opportunity, but decided to sleep in and hunt fewer hours. The sleep thing is real...
I don't think many people actually regret having kids. You'll love them no matter what, but unless you have a wife who feels it's her job to raise the kids while you traipse around the woods, it will have an impact.
 
How much hunting did you have to give up, if any, once your kid(s) were born?
I’ll say about 80-90%. Some of that is on me and my feelings of obligation and some of that is on my wife brow beating me.

She wants another and so do I for my daughter’s sake. I know what that means though, their happiness before mine and that’s how it should be but still hard to accept.
 
People have very different expectations about the roles of moms/dads in raising kids. Having kids has not come close to stopping me from hunting, but it has definitely limited the amount I get out, especially when they were younger. There were also a couple of years when I had the opportunity, but decided to sleep in and hunt fewer hours. The sleep thing is real...
I don't think many people actually regret having kids. You'll love them no matter what, but unless you have a wife who feels it's her job to raise the kids while you traipse around the woods, it will have an impact.
This is exactly it!
 
How much hunting did you have to give up, if any, once your kid(s) were born?
Well... daughter was born sept 2nd of 2022. 2 really short days of hunting that year. The days i did go out i was so tired it wasnt really great hunting. Did get a cow elk though and gave elk meat to the munchkin for her first protein. Still likes elk meat the most...

Obvious take away for all of hunt talk here - plan better than me when you are doing your "reproductive planning" because that was opening weekend this year... prior to leaving for elk camp i was picking up at the party. I joked for way way too long to my wife about just taking fmla leave as the "non birthing" parent and disappearing for hunting season. Karma was painful.

As far as how much i gave up - i know that its harder to be gone. Its a larger sacrifice for my wife and you just miss all of them more when youre gone. I guess i dont really know what i "gave up" in terms of days out. But i can tell you having the outdoors experience with my kid(s) is a return that far outweighs the cost. I know that i try my best to serve my wifes wants and wishes - and she always reciprocates it back (usually more).

Ive helped a few kids hunt, fish, etc but teaching your kids stuff (my daughter is only 17 months and i already see this) is such a hugely fulfilling experience. I cant wait for the first fish, deer, backpack overnight. All of that means so much more than anything i had hoped or planned for myself.
 
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