As a proud father of two kids Suzan (10) and Terrey (9), the most amazing thing is to enjoy their participation in hunting. Even if my truck doesn’t fill with dead deer, I’ll be happy. This season will be the 2nd from when I’m taking them to hunt with me. Still, I remember their smile when they first taste the success. Suzan managed to assist me on one and Terrey is still learning.
My father took me to jungle when I was 10 and I did the same for my children. I prioritized to introduce forest life to next-generation hunters. I believe this will be more rewarding than investing. Outdoor experience will change the way of living a life. It’ll add enormous experience and builds their intelligence and courage.
An ethical huntsman kills animals but equally, they don’t hurt ecosystem. But playing with guns at outdoor involves serious risk especially when your kids are with you. Though the intention is to take children at outdoor is good but few mistakes may ruin their love for hunting. The bellow 5 tips you shouldn’t forget before or while taking your kiddos with you.
- Mistakes are mistakes and kids are kids:
Whether children are hunting for the first time or not, mistakes may happen anytime anywhere. When you are hunting with inexperienced, the risk increases a lot. That’s why hunting mistakes are more serious than any other. Don’t expect kids know all the lines of threats.
I ensure that my child has understood the safety precaution. Besides parents, they should also learn to pay attention. Necessary safety measures will reduce the harmful consequences. Don’t go fast; take time to make the things simple.
Safety is the first priority, so I lead them by examples. From the early ages (even before going for the first hunt), I taught my kids three important rules of the forest. These are safety first, listen to dad, and enjoy. The rules apply from starting your car to reaching home at night. Even in the field, I used to tell them to recall these 3 awesome rules.
- Listen to them and start slow:
In the last season I’ve chosen small games. I knew children will go noisy. My kids are too much agile. They love to explore new things, want to know the answer of 100 questions. I love their restless attitude and I never discourage.
Even to keep their interest, I don’t choose a game which is longer than 1 hour. Short duration provides an opportunity for moving around and exploring the field. Listen to their queries, encourage their behaviors. Step into the woods and stop to hear what they see.
- Turn things into interesting experience:
One of my fellow hunter’s 8 years old lost his interest to hunt. I talked to him about this and his answer was “It’s boring; just sitting on the stands for day long,”. Their first few days ended up with an empty basket. The lesson is, if you can’t make this game interesting, they will lose the interest to go back. They’re little kids. So you just can’t expect them to be professional like you.
Don’t let them feel monotonous. Allow them to carry their favorite toys, comic books, or even outdoor video game console. During the boring session, let them be busy with the game.
I try to play interesting games which keep them smiling even in a slow game. I involve Suzan and Terrey to collect leaves, stones, identifying birds with their best binoculars or anything that encourages them to feel entertained.
Trust me, when they hit any target, their smile will make your day. Besides, these will build their self-confidence.
It’s very important to let them feel that it’s all about them not you. Allow them to take their own responsibility. Let them sync in the system.
Let them enjoy the victory, tell them without him/her you couldn’t reach so far.
- Don’t expect your kids to fire prior to being prepared:
It’s true that no hunters take their children without having proper training. I know you will also do the same. But is there any minimum age limit to take a shot? Actually, there isn’t any authentic source to support this. As parents, it’s a tough call to make.
I didn’t take the decision rather I left it for them. I asked Suzan when she wants to pull her trigger.
I know before handing over the gun, kids must become ready both mentally and physically. But yet I prioritize their decision. I knew they were all set to shoot.
Who knows kids better than his/her own parents? As a parent, if you think your child isn’t ready to take first shot, let them believe tracking and attracting targets are more important.
- Emphasize on post-processing of the game:
Field dressing is an important part of the game. You can expect some emotions with this game especially when you shot down any animal. My son, Terrey broke down to tears when I killed a whitetail in front of his eye. In my mind, I said, “Thank God I didn’t let him pull the trigger or else it would become worst”.
Don’t tease them; rather, teach them why killing animal is important. Tell them “to survive in the food chain that deer had to die”. Discuss the contribution that animal made to sustain our life.
Seek their help in field processing but don’t ask them too early. First, build their understanding why this process is necessary.
You should not scare off your kiddos. Once they understood, ask them to join in skinning. Talk about different cutting process. Also, ask questions to check whether they are following or not.
I involved my kiddos in the process so that they feel like a part of the system. I knew it’ll develop their passion and love for outdoor hunting.
Above all don’t forget to bring sufficient yummy snacks. Make a good plan to support their metabolism also. Bring protection kits and keep patience all the time.
There are obviously other 100 tips, but the above 5 are the most important of all. I follow these and taught my kids to pass the tradition too. I wish every young enjoy their hunting trips with their parents. Nothing is important than spending safe and quality family time while hunting. Hope your kids will have a good time and will have once in a lifetime experience. Happy hunting!