FORT HOOD — The Fort Hood Sportsmen’s Center recently hosted a hunting and fishing day, during which participants were invited to bring out their families to fish, shoot some arrows, aim at turkeys, and test out their turkey calling skills.

Judy Johnson, general manager of the Sportsmen’s Center, was happy to see all the outdoor enthusiasts, young and old, having fun.

“They (kids) are the future of the programs’ community and passing down our heritage to new generations (is important),” she said. “These activities provide quality time together as a family and opportunities to teach life lessons like sportsmanship and good stewardship of our planet’s resources.”

Wayne Farmer, a Fort Hood deer guide, and his daughter, Aubrie Farmer, 4, made their way to Cantonment Pond B in the early morning hours for the fishing portion of the day.

“I just enjoy watching her, her facial expressions. She loves fishing,” he said.

The duo managed to reel in an almost 3-pound catfish. Aubrie, though she was excited and curious about the smaller fish they caught earlier, was hesitant to get near the larger fish.

“We caught that big fish. She didn’t want anything to do with that,” Farmer said laughing.

He said he enjoyed spending time with her, answering her questions and sharing his love of the outdoors with her and he feels that’s the most important part of events such as the hunting and fishing day.

“Just to get children involved (so) we can pass it on to them,” he said. “Because if you don’t the sport will die. I think it’s good to get (them) outdoors, teach them things and let them see about fishing and hunting and stuff like that. I think that’ll help them a lot in their life as they get older too. It’s a fun sport,” he said.

The day’s next event was archery. About a dozen archers came out to test their skills.

Sgt. Nic Shirley, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, and Staff Sgt. Josh Langhoff, 3rd Security Forces Assistance Brigade, shot side by side during the competition.

“I’ve shot archery for 14 years and it seemed like it would be fun,” Shirley said. “Archery has always been my passion and I enjoy the opportunity to compete against other archers.”

“The archery contest was a great way to hone in my archery skills for some last minute adjustments before the hunting season,” Langhoff said. “Getting the opportunity for free range time while training with others and possibly winning a prize is a great time.”

They both agreed that having events like the hunting and fishing day allows soldiers a variety of outlets and creates a healthy environment.

“The importance of soldiers participating in these events is it provides a healthy and safe outlet for stress,” Shirley said. “These events are made safer by staff on post maintaining proper safety procedures.”

“Encouraging soldiers at every level to participate in hobbies that are supported on post creates a great environment for everyone,” Langhoff said. “For this event there were guides and seasoned hunters that provided excellent insight to the upcoming season.”