Like many parents you hope your kids follow in your footsteps, or at least some of them. Many hunters say they hope their children grow up with the same appreciation of nature and passion for hunting that you do. Many states offer special weekend for youth hunts to help kids get involved with the sport and help them bag a big deer. Ohio being one of the hunting preserves that provides it. Despite the efforts made sometimes the young hunter just isn’t into it. Maybe they don’t have the patience, or just don’t enjoy it but you’ll probably worry that you played a part in it. Of course, letting a young hunter take the reins is much different than hunting yourself or with other adults. Sometimes a few mistakes are made that can put a damper on a kid’s early hunting experiences.
One of the most important things is to keep reality in focus when having expectations. They won’t be a professional and that’s okay. Their first few years of hunting will be filled with lots of questions, lack of patience, and movement. They might miss a shot or spook the first whitetail deer they’ve seen all morning, but there will be more chances and its important to remind them and yourself of that. You don’t want the discourage to set in so making that moment about teaching is a great way to uplift their spirits. Starting with small game hunts, or limited time can also help combat boredom kicking in. The goal in these early years should be about having fun while in the woods.
Like many things in life, the longer you do them and the more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you get. This unfortunately is the case with many hunters. In the beginning years it is important to instill all the legal rules of the sport, as well as all the precautionary safety measures as well. You don’t want them to pick up the relaxed habits you have formed over the years. Kids won’t know the ins and outs of hunting safety. You should be prepared to keep an extra watchful eye on the way they handle their hunting equipment and correct any worrisome behavior. Leading by example is also an important factor hear. They’ll watch you closer when it involves something that they are excited about.
Allowing your child to set the pace is also important for them. Hunting should not be forced on them. By letting them call, and make, the shots you give them a sense of control that ever hunter needs to feel. A big deer finally walks into their target range, but they just aren’t able to shoot. Sure, it’s frustrating for you to watch the deer walk by because maybe you would have liked to shoot it, but it is for them too. There is more to hunting than just the kill. Maybe they decide they just want to tag along with you instead of being the one to pull the trigger. In these situations, you shouldn’t try to do everything for them either. Don’t pick their bow or firearm back up and hold it for them, and especially don’t pull the trigger. Their hunting adventures should be at their pace. Remember, they’re new and learning this wonderful sport.
Hunting is a lot of fun for those who enjoy spending their time in the woods. The moment you worry the young hunter is no longer fun, is the moment you should head home. As an adult many have become conditioned to hunting in harsh weather but that won’t be the case for your young sportsman. Extreme cold and even wet conditions can put a damper on their hunt pretty quickly and there is no reason to make them stay. Listen to them when they begin saying it’s too cold, their too bored, or even that they’re hungry. There will be more chances and there’s no good in making it unbearable for them. It’s also okay to allow them to have feelings while hunting, especially after a kill. Some kids do get waves of sadness over killing an animal even though you thought they were prepared. This can be turned into another great teaching opportunity. Explaining why hunting is important and why it is done are some good points to make but be sure to not overlook or brush off their feelings.
Hunting can be a very enjoyable sport for the whole family. It creates a great way of bonding, and a way to carry on tradition. Hidden Hollow Whitetail Ranch, one of the premier hunting preserves in ohio, is proud to have created an environment that welcomes young hunters who are growing their passion to hunt along side their family. The excitement of watching a hunter you’ve taught kill their deer is one unmatched by most things. Remembering these few points when teaching them the ropes can help them develop a relationship with wildlife as a safe hunter for many years to come.