Introducing Your Child to Hunting

It’s in your blood, you eagerly await hunting season every year, and yearn for the anticipation of spotting your next kill. Now the time has come…the day you have been waiting for since your child donned his first camouflage cap…time to introduce your flesh and blood to the love of the sport.

It is important when introducing your child to hunting, to expose him to the wilderness at a young age; and without probably knowing so, you have been preparing your child for his first hunt since he started walking. Time spent outdoors, such as walks through the forest and hikes through wooded areas, are the first steps in developing an appreciation for the outdoors. When introducing your child to hunting you may want to consider
watching movies together, or turning on either the Animal Channel or National Geographic; or go on a field trip together to the local library for some books on hunting and animals. It is also important before introducing your child to hunting, to expose him to the cycle of life; the reality of how the hamburger or steak landed on your table. The television shows kids are exposed to these days romanticize animals in the form of cartoon characters or large stuffed animals, and this may traumatize your child if he is not properly prepared.

Selecting the right type of clothing and the proper age-appropriate equipment is also important when introducing your child to hunting. Visit your local Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop for the latest fashion and most up-to-date sporting goods. It is important to dress warm, perhaps bring along a small sleeping bag or some blankets, in case your child gets cold. Do not rule out your local thrift store; this type of store is invaluable for finding sporting equipment and clothing at rock bottom prices. Also remember that children have limited attention spans; expect and prepare for them to be bored at times. Consider bringing along an emergency ‘fun’ kit. Pack it with hand held video games, coloring books and activities. In this kit you should also put water, juice, and some treats.

A critical step when introducing your child to hunting is choosing the appropriate gun or bow. Before doing so, make sure your child is mature enough to understand and willing to follow your instructions. Then start off small, perhaps a BBgun or a pellet gun. Of course, it will depend upon which type of game you will be hunting. BBguns can be used for small game such as squirrels or rabbits. A bow and arrow can be used for hunting dove or other fowl. If you are considering more than a BBgun or a bow and arrow for your child, you may want visit a shooting range. Here you can educate your child about proper gun safety; to never point a gun, to never pick up a weapon unless an adult is present, to keep the barrel in the air or pointed at the ground, and most importantly, always act as if the gun is loaded.

Once you have properly prepared your child to venture out on his first trip with you, it is important to take it slow. On the first few trips, don’t venture out too far in to the woods. Remember, you will need to practice your patience because boredom can and will set in quickly. Take a rest with your child, sit down on a log and listen to your surroundings; the leaves rustling and the wind blowing, the wondrous sounds of nature. Go at his pace. Take the time to listen to your child and feel the experience through his eyes. When first introducing your child to hunting, expect quick trips and you will both be pleased with the experience. And soon enough, your preparation and patience will pay off and your heart will fill with pride as you watch your child capture his first hunt.