Getting my kids outside hunting, fishing, canoing or hiking is something I try to do weekly. I hope that they will grow to love hunting and the outdoors and eventually share them with my grandkids. Here’s what I try to do when hunting with my kids.
1. Keep it short when hunting with your kids
I don’t know about your kids, but I think mine may have ADD… they’re just like their Dad. I have to take into consideration that they haven’t had the time it takes to grow to love hunting so much that you’re willing to live through a bit of misery like I have. Hopefully they get there, but they’re not there yet. I try to limit my time out with them to areas and times with a lot of action, keeping in mind that their enjoyment is the primary goal. If they say they’re tired and ready to go home, it’s better to cut the trip short rather than making them stick it out. The last thing I want to do is dampen their enthusiasm, or they may not want to join me on future hunting trips.
2. Get them good gear and keep them safe
Make sure your kids stay comfortable in warm boots, coat, hat and glove. The more comfortable they are, the more they’ll enjoy instead of being cold and miserable. I gear my kids up at www.gothuntsgear.com. They carry a great line of hunting clothes called Lucky Bums that are made for children.
Also, while you are hunting with your kids, talk about rules they should follow to stay safe, and lay down a foundation of safety practices. There is no better way to hammer respect for firearms home than to shoot a small animal such as a ground squirrel and show them the deadly force of a gun.
3. Take advantage of educational opportunities
Children are naturally curious, use your hunting trip to educate them about wildlife. Before you go out, talk about what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it. This will grow anticipation and respect for the animals, while helping them understand how to increase the chance for success. This is also a great opportunity to discuss game laws and why we observe them.
4. Be patient
Patience is part of the game, even more so when you’re out with a small child. You can’t keep a kid from being a kid… Sure, they might scare off some game, but are they having fun? That’s the important thing. Your job is to kindle some excitement.
5. Start with small game and let them participate
Kids don’t like to come home empty-handed, so you might consider starting with smaller game like rabbits, frogs or even shed hunting to get them started. They may have a better first few experiences when they have something to take home. If you do go big game hunting together, consider letting your child play an active role so that they feel crucial to the outing, such as calling or glassing for game with the binoculars. They’ll always remember the important job they were given when they went hunting.
The main thing to keep in mind is that this is treasured T.I.M.E. together. Use these tips as a guide, and your hunting trips will surely create special memories that your kids will never forget.
by Cory Glauner