Everything You Need to Know About Hunting With Kids
Hunting with kids can be extremely rewarding. It can also be extremely frustrating. With a little extra planning and foresight, you can ensure that your experience (and the experience for the kids) falls into the former category and not the latter one.
Introducing Kids to Hunting
Taking your child out into the field for the first time without adequately preparing them for the experience can be a recipe for disaster. It’s important to introduce them to shooting and hunting slowly, and this should start long before you set foot in the woods for their first hunt.
Start out slowly, first by talking to them about hunting. If they seem interested, offer to watch some TV shows or YouTube videos about hunting with them. From there, you can take them into the woods to set up stands, check trail cameras, and even go shed hunting. This can help them get into the hunting mindset without having the pressure of a full-blown hunt on their shoulders.
Explaining Hunting to a Child
Inevitably, like it or not, Bambi will likely come up and the timing will be less than ideal. Perhaps a friend will make mention of being a “Bambi killer” at school. It’s important that you explain to your child what hunting is and what it is not – and it’s most definitely not a cartoon movie.
Make sure that they understand why you hunt and that hunting isn’t bad or evil. Exactly how you do this will depend both on the age of the child and what situations you may need to combat from outside forces.
Our Tips for Safely Hunting With Kids
There are a number of different ways for you to hunt safely with kids, and we’re going to outline a number of our tips for doing so below.
Tip #1: Focus on Safety
Obviously, safety is the most important thing when it comes to hunting and firearms. Start teaching them about gun safety and hunting safety well before the season starts. In fact, it might be wise to spend the entire year before you plan on taking a child into the woods for the first time and use those 52 weeks to really drive home the importance of safety.
Part of this safety can involve the use of a suppressor. Since these tools both reduce sound and recoil, it can make for a safer and more enjoyable shooting (and hunting) session if they’re not getting beat up by recoil or having to wear uncomfortable ear protection all the time.
Of course, it’s ultimately up to you to determine what caliber they’ll be comfortable shooting and if and when they can remove their hearing protection, even when using a suppressor.
Tip #2: Make Sure Your Child is Ready
Every child is different, and as their parent, the ultimate decision as to whether or not your child is ready to hunt is entirely up to you. Of course, this can have many definitions and milestones. Determining when your child is ready to accompany you in a blind or a two-person treestand just to be out there and enjoy nature during the hunt may well be different than determining when your child is ready to use their own firearm and actively participate in the hunt.
Tip #3: Manage Expectations
It’s important to manage expectations when you take your child on a hunt, and this includes your expectations, too. Obviously, hunting with a child for the first time is very different than hunting solo.
It’s important that they understand what goes into a hunt and that you may not even see any animals – and that’s OK – because this is hunting and not shooting.
It’s equally important that you understand that kinds aren’t the best as keeping quiet or sitting still. This may directly correlate to why you don’t see any animals – and that’s OK – because this is hunting and not shooting.
Tip #4: Don’t Try to Do Everything at Once
Adopting a “sink or swim” mentality probably isn’t the best when introducing a child to hunting.
When just starting out, they probably won’t want to spend an entire week in deer camp or even an entire day in the woods. Ease them into it one day at a time, and break things up into morning and afternoon hunts.
Hunting in the afternoons can be good so that they don’t have to get up super early and will be less prone to being sleepy and cranky. Likewise, hunting earlier in the season when it might not be as cold out is also a good way to keep them from getting cranky. Hey, even adults get cranky when they’re cold!
Tip #5: Educate Your Child on Responsible Hunting
At the end of the day, a successful harvest is the ultimate goal. This means that you’ll need to talk to your child ahead of time about hunting responsibly. This should include discussing when you should and should not take a shot, as well as proper butchering and cooking the meat that you harvest.
Depending on their age, you may or may not want them present for the butchering process, and you can also decide when they’ll be able to understand the importance of herd management, etc.
Is Hunting Beneficial for Kids?
We may be biased, but yes, we think hunting is beneficial for kids. It can help instill proper safety protocols, marksmanship abilities, land management and animal stewardship ideas, and – perhaps most rewarding of all – create a lifelong bond between kids and their parents that will provide memories that last forever.
Common Questions About Hunting with Kids
Kids are full of questions, and parents who are planning on taking their kids hunting for the first time are also often full of questions. So, here’s some common ones that come up.
What age is appropriate to start hunting with kids?
There is no hard and fast rule as to the appropriate age to start hunting with kids. As the parent, it is ultimately up to you to decide when your child should go into the field with you for the first time. It’s important to remember that no two kids are the same, and forcing things too early could push them away for good, so just be patient with them.
Are there any special regulations or permits for hunting with children?
Every state has different rules and regulations when it comes to hunting with children. Many offer reduced rate hunting licenses and even special youth seasons. It’s important for you as the parent to know the state and local laws that govern this very special time in the woods.
What gear do I need when hunting with kids?
When hunting with kids, you’re going to need all of the gear that you would normally take into the field with you – just on a smaller scale. You’re also going to want to have extra snacks and drinks, extra rain clothes, extra hand warmers, extra first aid items (remember: Band-Aids have magical powers!), and perhaps even a favorite small toy or other item that will help keep your kid feeling safe and happy.
How do I choose the right hunting locations for kids?
Hunting locations vary widely throughout the country, both in terms of terrain and access. For the first few times out, try to choose locations that don’t take a long time to walk to. Kids’ feet get tired quickly, and you probably won’t be able to carry them and all of both of your gear at the same time.
If possible, pick an area without a bunch of other hunters present. This can be tricky if you’ve got limited access to public lands, so be sure to utilize youth-only seasons when there will be less human activity in the woods. However, if you’ve got access to leased land or your own property, taking kids into the woods when no one else will be around is a big plus.
Make Hunting Safer and More Enjoyable for the Entire Family
Following all of the above tips, tricks, and advice can help make hunting safer and more enjoyable for both you and your kids. Done right, you’ll have a hunting buddy for life.
If you want to add a suppressor to your list of hunting gear, Silencer Central is here to help. We are licensed to sell suppressors in all 42 states where they are legal to own, so this includes all 41 states where it is legal to hunt with a suppressor.
Get ahold of us today and we can get you started on the path to suppressor ownership and suppressed hunting.