Kids and Hunting: Get Your Young Prepared for the Field
Every parent’s dream is for their child to become better than them in some of their favorite activities. If you are a hunter, it is only natural you would want your child to learn all those skills. It will deepen your relationship and allow them to create discipline and self-control. It is also a way to preserve the hunting tradition.
Setting up priorities
However, before going into this, it is a good idea to set up your priorities. You would have to prepare for this hunt just as much as your child. It is not going to be similar to any experience you ever had. Children would act like children and at the first few times, they will fail in so many things that it would be very easy to get upset. However, you must keep in mind that practice makes it perfect. There are few things you should consider before taking your children to hunt.
Preparation before the preparation
The first thing you should do is get your child interested in hunting. However, this is an easy task for most parents since it is their passion, and children tend to imitate their children from a small age. So the only thing you should do in order to build an interest in him is talking to them about this passion of yours and explain them every little detail. If they don’t get interested right away, don’t worry; it might take months but it is inevitable.
Before the hunt, your child should have a good pre-preparation. This means that you should first teach him how to shoot instead of giving him the weapon for the first time and expecting him to make a great shot.
After shooting in fake targets for many months, he is now ready to get to know the nature and learn to respect it. Without this, the chances are little that he becomes a successful hunter. This means that you should introduce him to the plants and allow him to learn the natural laws and connect to the outdoors. He must first experience things his own way before orienting to the hunt. Imagine going to a place where everything is new for you. The first time you take your child hunting, he will probably be interested in everything but hunting techniques; the hunting clothes, trees, bugs, rocks… For this reason, experiencing the nature is an inevitable step you and your child are recommended to take.
The actual hunting experience
The previous steps were all preparations for the real hunting experience. They could take months or years, whatever you decide is fine. As long as you leave your child to develop these skills at his own pace. The next step would be to allow him to handle a weapon in nature. He shouldn’t be left unattended and it is probably a good idea to allow him to use the gun for a little while only. But not before teaching him what it means to take the life of an animal. Teaching him about ethics and how the chain system works. This way, you will avoid him feeling sorry for the animal or feeling emotional for the dead animal. You should nicely explain that killing him doesn’t mean disrespect to nature; on the contrary, it is the way nature works.
After this tracking and hunting, techniques are in order. This is the last physical step you need to present to your child. After this is learned, the only thing left is his spirit and psychology boosting.
Another tip which might come useful while hunting with a child is bringing something along with you, which would keep them occupied while there are no activities around. Kids find it hard to sit still because of the extra energy they have. Excitement and adventure is probably the one thing that is truly important to the child. And as with every other thing, anticipation is half the fun, especially for young hunters.
This also means allowing them to be included in the whole organization process. Involve them in the planning process, let them express their opinion and if possible, accept it once in a while. This way, they will feel that they are slowly learning and will become more motivated and more alert.
What not to do on the hunting trip with a child
However, the biggest mistake parents make when they are hunting with a child is actually expecting to hunt. The reality is that you can’t teach them hunting and hunt at the same time. Those are two time and energy consuming activities that must be done separately. Make the hunt about your children; plan the whole activity for them, not around them. And remember, the goal is not for you to catch your pray, but for them to try catching one.
Although it is important not to treat him like a child once you have decided that a child is ready for a hunt, that should only be a mask. Of course, you would monitor their every step, but it is not necessary to help them in literally every step they take; for instance carrying their bag, dressing them or putting scents on them. Even though children are young hunters, you should also take into account that they are more fragile and less tolerant to bacterial infection. So if the weather is too cold, maybe take them out for a couple of hours in warm clothes, only to experience this part of the hunting, and then take them back to the shelter. Or if you need to go through mud, maybe avoid that area this time, unless you feel your child is ready for this. However, the one general rule always remains: don’t go hunting with kids on bad weather days. It is almost a sure thing they wouldn’t go through without a cold.
When it comes to hunting with a young hunter, there are a lot of rules to be respected, but they are all just precautions from parents’ hunters which have already experienced this and would like to help other hunters put their children on the right path. After all, our kids might end up hunting together!
If you as a parent to a young hunter, have something to add, which helped your child through this experience, leave a comment in the comment section below and share it with the whole hunting community!