Zach and Hannah Herold - Archery Maniacs
If you follow Zach and Hannah Herold online, you will understand why I wanted to feature them. They are absolute rock stars when it comes to taking their son, CJ, out into the field with them! It's not always easy, or convenient, but including CJ on their hunts has created lifelong memories that they will always cherish and a bond that is unbreakable. I hope that reading about some of their experiences, and they have some great ones, will encourage you to take a child out hunting! Enjoy!
Let's hear from Zack first...
Zach, it’s clear from your social posts, you spend a lot of time outdoors with your son, CJ. What is your favorite outdoor activity to do with him and why?
We truly enjoy any kind of hunting, but I would say that backpack hunting for elk is our favorite. When he was 4 we went on a three-day two-night hunt and had a blast. Overall he walked about 15 miles, during which he saw bears, wolves, elk, and deer. Hunting is our favorite outdoor activity because it's our time. There aren’t any emails, cell phones, or other connections to the outside world. It’s simply him and I, and the great outdoors. The bond that it creates and the memories it makes are unparalleled and last a lifetime.
What is your favorite all-time hunting memory with CJ and what are you looking forward to most?
On the elk trip mentioned above we had a lot of encounters. We were within 50 yards of a 320” bull in the trees and within 35 yards of a different 320” bull in the fog. I remember it like it was yesterday. We spotted the bull on the side of the hill just as the fog started to roll in. Immediately after spotting the bull I asked CJ if he was ready to go kill an elk. With excitement in his voice and adrenaline running through his veins he responded “Ya! Ya! Ya!” Not 15 seconds after that the bull let out a blood curdling scream. CJ stopped in his tracks, turned to me, and with eyes as big as half dollars said, “Dad, did you hear that giant elk?!” That memory is seared into my mind and I relive it over and over again. Memories like that cannot be created in front of a tv, or at the mall; they are one of a kind.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone getting a child involved in hunting, what would it be?
Allow them to be kids and realize that you are out there primarily to be with your kid enjoying the outdoors, and not to kill an animal. They are beyond excited to be with you learning, growing, and experiencing all that nature has to offer. Don’t hold them back, encourage them to learn, have fun, and build the same love and passion for the outdoors you have. If you do this, you will be raising your favorite hunting partner. And always, always remember, killing an animal is more than possible with your child and I have done it many times, but that is just icing on the cake.
Let's hear from Hannah...
Hannah, I just read an awesome story on your instagram about the buck you took in Georgia with CJ along. Please tell us about it! What did he learn from this experience? Is the rack mounted on his wall yet?
The Georgia hunt was a fun one. We made this trip because Georgia is one of the states that CJ can legally hunt under his own tag, even at five years old! We hunted for four days, with Zach and CJ hunting out of a ground blind, and me hunting out of a tree stand. Unfortunately, CJ wasn’t with me when I shot the buck, because he was sitting with his dad in his blind a half mile down the woods. However, as soon as they heard the shot go off (I shot with a rifle, as I had banged my bow pulling it up the tree), CJ and Zach started walking my way. I climbed down out of the stand, and had CJ help me track the blood trail. The deer had only made it about 20 yards from where I shot it, with a solid blood trail, so it was easy, but CJ still had a blast getting to help. The rack isn’t mounted on his wall just yet, but it will be soon! I think the most important thing CJ learned from this hunt is that hunting isn’t always killing. CJ sat in the blind for HOURS and didn’t even see a single deer. Even still, he kept going out day after day, sitting for four or more hours each time, and never got discouraged. It was great for him to experience the boring parts of hunting, but still show a passion and drive to continue.
I read that CJ went along on a number of hunts with you and Zach this past hunting season. What was your favorite hunt with him and what do you think his favorite hunt was?
My favorite hunt was our family antelope hunt, in which Zach’s dad killed his first archery antelope. Zach and his dad were the hunting duo, while CJ and I manned the vehicle and took care of spotting. CJ and I had a blast helping CJ’s papa with his hunt, and getting to watch the action. We loved getting to experience the hunt as a family.
From your experience, what benefits, or life lessons, does a child learn from growing up in a hunting home?
I think a hunting home provides quite a few life lessons for children. First, it lets kids know where their food comes from. It helps kids recognize that food doesn’t just come from packages in the store - that meat came from an animal that had to give it’s life in order to make that food. Additionally, it teaches the kids a sense of responsibility. Hunting requires training, practice, and lots of preparation. We make sure to involve CJ in our training and practice, so that he knows how much work goes into hunting. Additionally, hunting teaches patience. Not many five year olds are able to sit in a ground blind in twenty degree weather (yes, it was twenty degrees in Georgia!) for hours on end, without complaining. However, a child who is raised in a hunting family learns that oftentimes patience is necessary - and that good things come to those who wait. Most importantly, hunting is an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages and generations. A hunting family is able to enjoy the outdoors together, with three or even four generations experiencing it as a family. This is one of the greatest gifts that hunting can bring to a household.
You are both, obviously, very passionate about passing on the hunting heritage to your son, CJ. How have you used Archery Maniacs to help encourage others to get youth involved in hunting?
Having CJ along is more important to us than killing the animal. We think having that mentality allows us to instill hunting as a way of life rather than just the pull of the trigger. We use Archery Maniacs to promote, uplift, and support people taking their kids into the outdoors by giving tips, tactics, and ideas geared towards having kids in the outdoors. We also have people on the podcast such as Erin Crooks, founder of Raise ‘Em Outdoors, promoting and helping kids be more active in the outdoors. The best way to insure the lifestyle we hold so close is to raise the next generation to love it as much as or more than we do.
Where to follow Zack and Hannah…
IG: @zachherold1 @hannahherold1 @archerymaniacs
Facebook Pages: Hannah Herold, Zach Herold, Archery Maniacs
Youtube: Archery Maniacs