As a father of two young kids, 9 and 10, taking a child hunting is the most rewarding opportunities in the field whether you fill the tag or not. I started my kids young into hunting and enjoying the outdoors. My son took his first deer when he was just 5 years old and my daughter took her first when she was 6 years old. My son converted from a 20 gauge youth slug shotgun to a Hoyt Rampage when he turned 8 years old. I’ve experienced several learning experiences with this, so here are my top 10 tips for taking kids hunting.
Top 10 Hunting Tips for taking Kids Hunting:
10 – Technology Distractions
- We are fortunate enough to have towers on our properties. If you find yourself fighting with your child between going hunting or playing their DSi, do both. With the volume off, my son plays his games often, but he knows when we get to the golden hour of movement his focus must be in the field.
9 – Weather
- If you’re just getting your kids into hunting, it is not a good idea to pick a day that is 20 degrees and snowing. Wean them into it when you have some nicer weather, otherwise you will be coming out of the woods just as fast as you went in.
8 – It’s not for all kids
- My son is still an avid outdoorsman, but over the last few years my daughter just realized it’s not for her. This was obviously harder for me to accept then her, but there is no value in forcing this issue. If it’s not for them, find other activities that they enjoy that you can spend time with them.
7 – Exposure
- Don’t make your first trip into the woods with your child their first hunting experience. Before I ever put a bow or gun in my kid’s hands, we would sit out over fields and watch deer, and I would explain to them why certain deer would do certain things. It’s not all about the kill; make it educational so that they grow up getting the big picture.
6 – Timing
- When you first take a young child out, make sure you understand that it will be in short doses. You may only be sitting for 45 minutes to an hour at a time and that’s ok, but for a child that’s about the most their attention span will take.
5 – Hot Chocolate
- No real formula here, but the one thing my kids always enjoy is on the colder days, I would pull out a thermos of hot chocolate (make sure you’re not downwind). Whether we saw something or not, they still tell me how much they enjoy that.
4 – Keep the goal in mind
- Between video games and hot chocolate your probably wondering if we get any hunting done or have any luck, well the answer is yes. I work the fine strategy details (wind, food, scent…), my kid just focus on enjoying themselves. Your goal here is to spend quality time with your children and educate them on natural resources.
3 – It’s not about the Trophy
- This somewhat goes with the goal. So many people want to either get on TV or have their kids be the next star, so they take their kids out and hold out for a mature buck. Let me break the bad news to you, it’s not likely going to happen. Wean your kids into it with small successes. My son has been hunting for 4 years and he is still required to shoot only does. Most adults can’t maintain their composure when a bruiser comes out, why would we think a child can?
2 – Patience
- Patience comes with time. When I first started taking my son out at 5 years old we would literally sit for 30 to 45 minutes. This was just short enough that he would fight me to want to stay. Every year I make these sits longer till this last year at 9 years old we were sitting for four hour increments and it was usually me that wanted to go. Patience has as much to do with the parent as it does the child.
1 – It has to be enjoyable
- Inevitably this needs to be enjoyable to become a lifelong passion for your child. If you make it serious, they are likely to ditch this hobby as soon as they are big enough to leave it on their own.
Hopefully this helps and despite the ups and downs I’ve had with taking my children hunting it is still the most rewarding.
Posted by Terry Sedivec