How should you go about introducing kids to hunting? Here are some ideas.
Parents often want to introduce their kids to the sports they’re passion about. But when it comes to hunting, they may find it more challenging than say football or golf. The best approach is to pique their interest on both subtle and aggressive fronts. These tips will help make the process smooth and enjoyable for everyone.
1. Do Your Homework
Before the trip, it is imperative to teach your child about safety. A tragic accident on a first hunting trip virtually assures he or she will never want to hunt again.
Remember check the weather conditions. If the forecast calls for heavy rain and freezing temperatures, reschedule.
2. Pack the Necessities
One of the easiest ways to get kids excited about hunting is to take them shopping for their own gear—after all, there are few people in the world who don’t like shopping for new stuff. Let them know what they need, and allow them to select the items themselves.
When the time comes to pack up, ensure the necessities are present and accounted for. Bring extra food, socks, gloves and first-aid items on maiden adventures. The mood can take a downhill turn when a child starts complaining about hunger, thirst or wet feet. These items should be in your backpack—not theirs—to ensure their load is light and easy to manage.
3. Incorporate Technology
It’s no secret that teenagers love technology, so take that interest and apply it to hunting. The sport offers many gadgets that can be used to make trips go more smoothly, which might increase the chances of your kid enjoying the sport more.
One of the most important aspects of successful hunting is knowing wind speed and direction. The Firefly Electronic Wind Detector takes 512 readings per second to pinpoint the exact direction of wind. It can be used in conjunction with the digital Caldwell Wind Wizard so you also know exact wind speeds. Teach them how to use it properly, and give them the responsibility of reporting wind conditions. This creates teachable moments when it comes to bullet trajectory and scent abilities of your target prey.
The technology involved with optics is another way to keep things interesting for kids. Rifle scopes have reached the point of being rangefinders and ballistics calculators built into one device. Some scopes even adjust for wind speed to ensure success on the first shot.
All-in-one tracking devices that tell sunrise and sunset times, temperature, elevation and animal movement also keep kids engaged. Incorporating scouting drones is an effective engagement tool as well (if you’re hunting in states that allow them).
4. Ease into It
Start off with small game like squirrels and rabbits. A .22 rimfire rifle or even an air rifle can be used to introduce your kids to shooting. The success rate is also far higher with smaller game versus deer or turkey hunts. Do not shame kids for feeling bad about kills; let them know about the importance of conservation efforts and always take their first kills home for meat, and perhaps a keepsake.
Hunters take their craft very seriously. The moment you make a child feel like they’re in school, you’ll quickly lose their interest. If you’re headed out on a turkey hunt, lighten up the mood by teaching diaphragm (mouth) calls. They can be difficult to master, but having a call of their very own is a good way to introduce kids to the art—and a great way to bond during the trip.
The key to properly introducing kids to hunting is having fun. We usually consider a successful trip to be one where tags are filled, but to kids, the family time, laughs, and learning experience is what they will cherish forever.