8 Tips for taking kids hunting
Grandsons first hunting trip
Pass your passion for hunting along
While deer hunters numbers are still strong, it's mostly an aging group. The number of young hunters is on the decline, more each year. People especially kids have schedules loaded by activities such as team sports, church groups and school clubs. Hunters need to pass the passion for the outdoors along to our youth, this is the future of hunting. People have become urbanized and lazy, throw in the down economy and the fact many can't afford to hunt. Many kids come from single parent homes and don't get the opportunity to hunt. It's up to us the teach these future generations the values of our land and wildlife, taking a kid hunting or fishing is a great place to start.
Here are some great tips to turn taking a kid hunting into a good positive, fun experience and hook them on hunting for the rest of their life. When taking your kids, grand kids, or any youth, try to make the trip fun, leaving these young hunters wanting more. Don't blow a chance at hooking a kid on hunting, got the passion, pass it on.
Here's some tips for taking kids hunting
- Build anticipation and excitement by planning their hunt in advance: Today's, youth has such a busy schedule so you'll need to be somewhat flexible. Last year we had our trip planned soon as the school schedule came out. My grandson had been talking about it for months, really excited about going. Two weeks before the trip, he found that his school party was going to be that same week. We rescheduled for the following week, for a long weekend instead of the original trip.
- Involve your young hunter in the planning: Getting them involved generates excitement, making a list of things to bring, activities they want to do, etc. Last years list consisted of marshmallows to cook over our campfire, drinks, snacks, camo and plenty of fuel for the ATV. The more you discuss your trip, the more excited they'll become.
Everyone loves a good campfire
- Make the hunt about them: Take time to practice shooting, show them how binoculars work, how to ride an ATV. They will enjoy the time you spend with them for the rest of their life. Kids have trouble sitting in one spot staring at a shooting lane for 6 hours. Instead of hard hunting, help them identify wildlife, teach them to read deer sign, talk to them about hunting. Don't push too much or they won't enjoy the hunt. If they want to bring a hand held game, let them.
- Outfit them to match the other hunters: They want camo just like the rest of the hunters. In fact, I had to make a sling for my grandson so he could carry his BB gun on his shoulder like the other hunters. They want to be one of the gang so make them feel that way.
- Bring along some comforts: Take along some food, snacks, and water, kids can't go all day without. We take granola bars, PBJ sandwiches, snack crackers and water. If you can keep their stomachs from growling, you'll get a couple hours longer in the woods.
- Treat them the same as any other hunter:
Make getting out of bed while it's pitch black something fun and exciting. Don't baby them, they'll enjoy being one of the gang. They even enjoy that long hike thru the woods to a secluded blind. Remember to discuss all the rules with them before you're in the stand, include discussing hunter's safety.
- Know when to take a break: Kids have a short attention span, they aren't as concerned about taking a deer as we are. This is the hard one for me to tell if interest has just waned for the moment or they're done. Remember what it was like when you was forced to do something you didn't want to when you was a kid. Don't push them, let them know it's ok and you understand if they want to quit early.
- Let your young hunter tell the story: When you get back to camp or back home, let them tell their story of what you seen and did. It'll make it a better experience for them, and you might just learn a few things as well. Last year, my grandson said I wouldn't let him talk at all. I forgot he don't care if we see deer or not, he just wants to have fun with the gang.
Hunting memories can last a lifetime
Taking kids hunting helps ensure the future of the sport
If hunters want to continue to see open spaces full of wildlife, we have to pass this along to future generations. What better way than spending time than sharing these experiences with our kids, families and friends. Got the passion, pass it along. Who knows a few years from now they may be the ones taking you.