Raising daughters to appreciate nature through conservation.

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Adam Swift has been bow hunting and fishing on the West Coast since he was a kid growing up in Campbell River. “My dad introduced me to archery,” he remembers. “I would always watch him practice and join him in hunting until I was old enough to get my own compound bow.”

Respecting nature and wildlife are lessons that have been passed down for generations in the Swift family, and when Adam became a dad of his own, it was important to him to continue the traditions with his own two daughters. “I started taking the girls hunting and fishing when they were still in diapers,” he says. “I’ve always let it be their choice and we all enjoy it a lot. Our annual fishing trip to Nootka Sound is something we look forward to every year.”

Adam took his oldest daughter, Lyla, on their first solo fishing trip to Nootka when she was just three years old. “Our second daughter, Macy, had just arrived, and we were so busy with the new baby that I wanted to do something special for just Lyla,” he remembers. “We had so much fun that first year that we just made it an annual tradition, and included Macy when she turned three. We’ve been doing it ever since and this summer was our ninth year. We camp for two or three days, eat good food, laugh, sing, dance, and catch—try to catch—a few fish.”

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Hunting and fishing both require incredible patience and perseverance, which Adam loves teaching to his daughters. “I love the challenge,” he says. “Bow hunting is hard. It requires hundreds of hours of practice—you have to be silent, control your scent, and be very stealthy.”

As someone who has been bow hunting in Vancouver Island’s forests for 25 years, Adam says that close encounters with wildlife
are a big part of what he loves most about bow hunting. “We mostly hunt blacktail deer and grouse, but we see lots of black bears and elk while we are out,” he says.

Bow hunting with his daughters has mostly been here on Vancouver Island, and the girls, now aged nine and 11, have participated as athletes in a number of 3D archery competitions to date. “They set up a course through a forested area where you walk through a trail with a series of different foam targets set at different distances and setups,” he says. “It’s kind of like disc golf with arrows instead of frisbees, and foam animals instead of baskets. We usually go to the range a few times before the event to practice and make sure their bows are sighted in.”

One of the most important lessons Adam hopes to pass on to his daughters is understanding conservation and the sustainable use of natural surroundings. “I want them to learn how to follow rules and regulations, and how to harvest only what we need,” he says. “I want them to experience the excitement of a successful harvest, but also teach them that we can have a successful hunt or fishing trip without bringing something home with us. It’s also a good lesson in perseverance.”

Both he and his wife love supporting their girls in sport and recreation, and Adam says their shared interests in the outdoors make family time easy and fun. “It’s something we all love doing together, and that’s pretty amazing,” he says. “It gets us out of the house as a family and away from TV, phones, and video games.”