Hunting, similar to fishing, camping and other outdoor pursuits, is a life skill that teaches a multitude of lessons to those who participate. A seasoned hunter has spent years perfecting attributes of the craft that extend into life outside of the field. Character traits such as patience, perseverance and discipline are all fundamental to a hunter’s success in the bush. If you’re a responsible parent, these are likely traits you wish to instill in your children. Like most such endeavors, the younger you learn, the better you are in the long run. But hunting, in particular, can be tricky when it comes to involving kids. Hunting challenges us to face extreme weather conditions and physical discomfort. It also involves waking up early, and sometimes requires rather Spartan provisions. These aren’t great selling points when it comes to introducing kids to the hunt. But there are ways to work around it. Here are a few tips for getting the youngsters in your life out in the woods, chasing game.
Setup For Success
It’s no fun being placed outside of your comfort zone without the proper tools to understand and overcome. You feel this way, and kids feel this way also. Set your kid up for success by ensuring that they are proficient with whatever weapon they are choosing to hunt with, and whatever other tools they will be using also… such as binos or spotting scopes. Take time to review the hunting process beforehand and ensure that the kid understands everything that is going to happen. Knowing what to expect and being prepared will help stoke both excitement and confidence in a young hunter.
Having tasty snacks can be a huge morale booster for young hunters who aren’t quite sure they want to spend all day laying in the dirt or sitting in a tree with you. Go all out when it comes to goodies. It may even be wise to call in the big guns and pack favorite foods or candy that you know your kiddo really loves. The goal is for your child to associate a positive experience with the act of hunting, and having their favorite munchies with them is a great way to sponsor that connection.
It’s All About Them
As adults we approach hunting with a goal-oriented mentality. We tend to focus on the end-point, which is meat in the freezer by any means necessary. As a result, we can easily overlook the long road that it took us to get to such a point. When you go hunting with your kids, forget about you. Forget about the end goal of getting an animal. It’s all about the experience your child is having. If they are miserable and ready to call it, you’ve likely pushed them too far. While there is definitely something to be said for preteens and the need to challenge them in the field, younger kids just need to come out and have a good time. It’s all about them. Your job is to facilitate.