Hunting with Kids is All About Patience
Hunting with kids is a challenge for any parent. It's hard to take time away from our busy schedules and make the trip to the woods. And it's not always easy to keep our patients as we teach them how to be safe and careful hunters. But if you stick with it, you'll reap the rewards of hunting with your young kids - whether that means enjoying a day in the woods or teaching them a lifelong skill that will benefit them well into adulthood.
The best way for a parent to successfully hunt with their kids is by following these tips.
Children are more active now than they have ever been before. They are constantly on the go; sitting down for long periods is not something they enjoy.
One of the most discouraging things about parenting is that you often feel like you are constantly fighting a losing battle with your child. When it comes to sitting still, children have unrealistic expectations.
Instead of keeping your kids still for long periods, keep hunts short and active. Engage them in activities that will stimulate their brain cells. Small game hunts are great options because they provide opportunities for talking and moving.
Not Emphasizing Safety
We can all cut corners from time to time when it's just us out there hunting but when you're with your kid, be sure to hit all the safety markers. Take the time to teach them about safety and set an example by your safe habits and behaviors. Kids, especially boys, are naturally wild creatures that love going full steam ahead without thinking of the possible poor outcome. So, we have to help them see the dangers of looking down the barrel of a gun.
Putting Other Goals Ahead of Fun
When my son, Parks, was little, someone gave him a Hunter Dan action figure. The toy came with camo clothing, binos, boots, duck call, a backpack, a shotgun, sunglasses, a dog, and other accouterments. Parks always brought that toy and accessories hunting with us. It was a way to keep the day fun instead of turning it into a dad-centered day. I can go hunt whenever I want. Bringing my boys out to hunt is about sharing something I love and letting them have fun with it.
Being Inadequately Prepared
It's easy to neglect packing essentials like a hat, gloves, and extra clothing when traveling with your child. But the reality is that kids also get cold much more quickly than adults do, so it's essential to bring extra warm clothing and rain gear. And don't leave home without Band-Aids! If you have young children, you understand the magic of Band-Aids.
Expecting Kids to Shoot Before They're Ready
This blog is about hunting, yes, but it's more about bonding with your kiddo. It shouldn't be just about the kill. If a child does not want to take a shot at all, it is ok. The main reason for this is that if the child just wanted to go along with the parent, that should be fine. There are so many ways kids can participate in hunting without taking shots, such as being a scout.
Taking Your Kids into Harsh Conditions for Too Long
When I think back on all the times we took our kids on hunts; we were always aware of how much they would enjoy them and what was too much. We left as soon as they got too cold because that was the point it became more about us than them.
We had to keep reminding ourselves that it wasn't just about us enjoying the hike but rather about our kids enjoying their childhood.
Unintentionally Setting up for Failure
It is not always the most obvious thing that causes children to fail. Sometimes simple things go wrong and set up for failure, like carelessness with safety precautions.
If you consider allowing your child to use a gun or bow for hunting, then make sure they have the experience first. If they haven't enough, there are plenty of other ways to hunt safely without using firearms or bows.
Don't just put a gun in your child's hand on the day of the hunt and expect them to make a good shot. Nothing can ruin a hunting experience more than wounding an animal.
Doing Everything for Your Kids
I like to let my kids blood trail if one of us shoots a deer. I look for opportunities that provide good learning experiences. Some of these activities may be a bit difficult, but let them struggle. Hunting helps them learn to do difficult things.
Pushing Too Hard to Go Hunt
The last thing any parent wants is to have their child unhappy or not enjoying their time. Children could enjoy plenty of other things, and they should be encouraged to explore those instead.
Some children will love the sport of hunting. And others will not want any part of it. But fortunately, other activities can be substituted for hunting - like fishing, hiking, or kayaking - that might offer the same enjoyment as the sport without all the expectations that come with it.
Parents need to consider their child's interests and see if they align with an activity that isn't so controversial before pushing them too hard to go hunt.
Hunting Teaches Kids Conservation
Hunting teaches kids conservation. Hunting teaches kids empathy, patience and more importantly, we can teach them how to care for our natural world and the wildlife around us.
Hunting is one of the few activities where we can directly interact with nature and wildlife. It is an excellent way of teaching kids about their natural surroundings. Hunting helps in conservation efforts by providing food for people in need while protecting our game herds against overpopulation.
Hunters are among the most ardent supporters of preserving game herds and habitats for future generations. Hunters show children what it takes to live in balance with nature instead of turning it into an endless fight between man and beast.
Hunting Teaches Kids To Appreciate Hard Work
Hunting can teach kids invaluable lessons about life, nature, and their place in it. This is because hunting is a difficult job that takes time and patience, but there's a great reward with dedication. In this way, hunting teaches kids that the appreciation of the natural world around us and of our capabilities comes with hard work. They must be patient and dedicated to the task at hand. These traits are vital in the future because they teach children how to work hard and appreciate what they have.