Wednesday, March 28, 2012

5 Tips for Hunting With Kids

Taking your children hunting can have so many wonderful benefits. They will always cherish those memories and might even grow to love the sport so much that one day they'll share the experiences with their own kids. We put together a few tips that might help make creating the outing easier and more enjoyable for both you and your little ones.

1. Shorten the duration of your usual hunt
Kids have much shorter attention spans, so take that into consideration when deciding how long your hunt should last. Time your trip during an hour that usually has a lot of action, preferably after your child has had a nap. It's important to remember that their enjoyment is your focus-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 you want to do is dampen their enthusiasm, or they may not want to join you on future hunting trips.

2. Appropriately equip and educate your child on safety
When taking small children out, make sure they stay comfortable in warm boots, coat, hat and glove. The more comfortable they are, the more they'll be able to focus on enjoying the outing rather than dwelling on the fact that they're feeling cold and miserable. Do what you can to make this a pleasant experience for them. Talk to them about the different rules they should follow to stay safe. This is a great chance to decrease risk and lay down a foundation of safety practices involved in hunting.

3. Take advantage of educational opportunities
Children are naturally curious. Take advantage of this by using your hunting trip as an opportunity to educate them about the wildlife they're about to encounter. Before you go out, talk about what you're going to do and why you're going to do it. This will help grow anticipation and respect for the animals, and helping them understand what to do to increase the chance for success. This is also a great opportunity to introduce game laws and why we observe them.

4. Be patient
Even on a solo hunting trip, practicing patience is part of the game. This is even more true when you're out with a small child. Their enjoyment should be your top priority, and you can't keep a kid from being a kid. Sure, they might scare off a buck. But the most important thing is that they're having fun and gaining new experiences. If you have a ground blind, this might help conceal the added movements and provide your child the chance to see their first deer. Try to recall your first experience and remember that feeling as you work to provide your son or daughter with the same excitement.

5. Start with small game and let them participate
For some smaller children, they may not fully appreciate the hunt if they come back empty-handed. You might consider starting with smaller game like rabbits or frogs to get started. They may have a better first few experiences when they have something tangible 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. Many children can handle certain calls, or maybe being "lookout" with the binoculors will do the trick. 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 time together. Use these tips as a guide, and your hunting trips will surely create special memories that your kids will never forget.

Katie Frasier is a contributing writer at Hunting Boots News, a blog dedicated to providing the latest hunting boots news, reviews and commentary for the hunting enthusiast.
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