hunting ethics youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Hunting Ethics In Today’s Culture

Instilling Hunting Ethics In Our Youth

Ethics, many of us “understand” the word and can most likely apply it to our everyday lives. Living an ethical life can sometimes means different things depending upon who you are and what your background is. Webster defines the word ethics as “Rules of behavior based upon ideas of what is morally good and bad”. If you take this definition literally (and most of us do) then there are codes of ethics for almost everything we do on a day to day basis. From riding the bus, to crossing the street, this list goes on. This includes hunting ethics.

For most of us, our code of ethics was instilled in us at a very young age, beginning with our parents or guardians. They taught us the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. For most of us, a little reinforcement was often necessary to drive the point home. (Steal a piece of candy from the grocery store…BAD!) (Help and elderly neighbor mow their grass…GOOD!) The Point is that most all of us were given the structure and tools needed to one day become ethical adults at an early age. These lessons were often reinforced through various activities such as school or sports that we were involved in along the way, all helping to shape us into the men and women we are today.

The sport of hunting is absolutely no different. As a matter of fact, many would argue that the sport of hunting might be one of the best tools to help educate someone who is going youth hunting for the first time the importance of life, family and conservation. This is often a point that is lost among those who are less indoctrinated into the hunting lifestyle or the sport of hunting. The common misconception is that it is all about “the kill”, and while that can certainly be a highlight it is much, much more than that.

Youth Hunting Lessons

Exposing a youngster to the hunting lifestyle through a youth hunting or mentor opportunity is a very big responsibility, and should be on every hunter’s bucket list. For many, it will be their first time every being around a firearm or a bow, and it can be very intimidating. Sometimes it is simply the act of putting on the Realtree Camo pants or jacket that makes it exciting! The point here is that youth are very impressionable, and when it comes to installing conservation and hunting ethics, it is important to do it right.

One of the best ways to ensure that you are doing all you can to teach your youth hunter right from wrong in the woods is to make sure you are always communicating. Remember that you are a teacher, and they are your student. Having an appreciation for the sport of hunting often comes from the effort that is required to be successful. This is an excellent lesson that can be applied to everyday life; you get out what you put in! Keep communicating! Help them to understand the “why” as much as the “how”.

The reality of it is that the more time you spend in the woods with your youth the more opportunities you have to be an example to them. The more time you spend taking a youngster out youth hunting the more opportunities you will have to show them the right way from the wrong way, the more opportunities you have to educate them on the topic of conservation, on the importance of taking care of the land and being a good steward of our natural resources. There are no two ways about it, simply spending time in the outdoors with a youth hunter teaching them how to be an ethical hunting by being the example is the absolute best way to ensure that your youth hunter has an understanding of what being an ethical hunter means.

Keeping It Fun

The early you can introduce a youth hunter to the sport of hunting, the better. It can be important to develop an interest early in life before other distractions begin to compete for time. Now, no one ever said taking a very young hunter to the woods was an easy task, or at times even a fun task but that is all beside the point. Sometimes, it is just about being out in nature with them whether you are packing a Gamo air rifle looking for squirrels or just flinging a few GoldTip’s down range at your McKinzie it is all about keeping your time in the field fun and exciting.

If you get lucky and harvest and animal, fantastic! However taking the time to show them the wild things that live outside our towns and cities, and educating them on the responsibility we have as hunters to ensure that the animals we chase live and thrive is even more important. It is this love of wildlife, nature and conservation that drive us all to hit the woods every year, and the conservation ethic that has helped make us who we are. It should be the responsibility of all hunters to see this legacy and conservation ethic passed on to the next generation, so if you have the opportunity to expose someone, especially a youth to the sport of hunting, we hope you will take the opportunity to do so!

oppurtunities challenges with youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Opportunities and Challenges with Youth Hunting

Ways of Getting Kids Involved and Mistakes to Avoid with Youth Hunting

Each and every time you go hunting it is special. Whether you have been hunting for 30 years or have just started with the sport, you have or will accumulate a lot of special outdoor memories from each day in the field. For those that have been sportsmen and women since early youth hunting days, we remember our first positive hunting experience and nothing is more special than being there for that first successful youth hunting experience by our own children.

Like many who love to be outdoors and hunt, our hope has always been to share our passion for the outdoors with our children. Hunting is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle that passes along values like tradition, respect and a desire to better ourselves. As parents, we want our children to grow up with an interest in the outdoors, and hunting particularly so that they can enjoy and understand how the family hunting tradition enriches our lives. There are, however, times when youth hunting may not develop as we would like. Kids will move to their own passions early on and as parents, we respect that. While there is no guarantee that each one of our kids will take part in our outdoor passion, there are certain things we can do as a parent or youth hunting mentor to help in developing that lifelong passion for hunting.

3 Tips for Getting Kids Involved in Hunting

Generally, kids take an interest in just about anything their parents are doing. At a young age, children are fascinated by what you do and curious about being like you. It is a good thing and one characteristic that helps in getting kids involved in hunting. If your kids seem to take an interest in hunting, here are three youth hunting tips to help foster that interest.

Start Youth Hunting Early 

Curiosity alone will have your kids asking questions about where you are going or what type of animal that is if you should be so lucky to harvest one. Eventually, that curiosity will lead to the time when they ask if they can go with you hunting.

Getting asked this question as a parent is both amazingly satisfying and also challenging. It can be tough because many of us take hunting seriously, and rightfully so. But getting kids involved in hunting at a young age requires you to adapt and change the way you hunt. Having your kids along means making shorter trips, hunting different and often unproductive areas and lowers your expectations about the chances of harvesting an animal. These are the sacrifices you need to make to get your kids hunting early on in life.

Starting them early is different than pushing them into the sport. Children can quickly lose interest in the outdoors simply from being pushed too hard because a parent or youth hunting mentor wants so badly for them to take part in the outdoor experience. We, as hunters, all want our kids hunting with us. However, forcing them into hunting either too soon or because they have yet to build an interest will be the quickest way to lose a future hunter. If they do not show as much interest as you would like, then give them their space. Often youth hunting takes times. Always keep the invitation open, but never force them to be an unwilling participant.

First Impressions Matter

Regardless of the child’s age, the first few days afield are the most critical in determining whether or not he/she maintains an interest in hunting. These first youth hunting experiences, like any first impression, are where the child is going to form their opinion about hunting. They are either going to decide that hunting is fun and enjoyable or that it may not be something for them. Your job is to not push them and make the first impression a fun youth hunting experience.

The first step to ensuring that a child’s first hunt is not their last is to keep the initial outings brief. Kids have short attention spans, for no fault other than being a kid. That being said, the last thing they want to do is go sit in a blind or a Hawk ladder tree stand for hours on end no matter how into hunting they may already be. As soon as the questions start coming, like “when are we leaving?” or “how much longer are we hunting?”, their attention has veered away from hunting. Take these cues as it is time to make a change or wrap it up completely for the day. Either change spots, take a walk or end the youth hunting day completely.

Secondly, during that time you are focused on hunting you want to help young hunters be successful. All the youth hunting tips and best practices only go so far if eventually a child does not get to experience success. Success can take many forms but for kids, it usually relates to harvesting an animal. Kids find it difficult to comprehend sitting for hours not seeing or shooting any game. Start them off with hunting squirrels, doves or other small game where there are opportunities to see and harvest animals. The other alternative is to find hunting areas that are plentiful with game. Many landowners are willing to open up their farms and forests to youth hunting if you ask. Many times these private oases are loaded with does and absent from other hunters, especially during youth hunting seasons.

Although there is a substantial amount of time and effort leading up to a first successful youth hunt, the first taste of success almost always instantly hooks a kid to hunting for life. Excitement and a sense of accomplishment flow from a kid’s eyes when they harvest their first game animal. The excitement and sense of pride are not only within the child but also with you, knowing you played a big part in their success, which is rewarding no matter what activity it is your kids are doing.

Equipping Youth Hunters Properly

Along with making a good first impression to young hunters, your kids should be as comfortable as possible while outdoors. Equip your kids with the right youth hunting clothing and gear. If you are fully invested in hunting with kids, then invest in them with the proper equipment. Youth hunting clothing today has many of the same qualities adult clothing has to ensure your kids stay warm and dry. This is sometimes an expensive proposition as kids grow out of clothes just about each year, but the downside to not having good hunting clothing and proper boots could be a lost future hunter.

oppurtunities challenges with youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Aside from clothing and gear, you also want to make sure the weapon they are using is fitted correctly for them. The most important reason is for safety. An oversized firearm can lead to not being able to shoulder the gun correctly and recoil that is unmanageable. You want to find youth versions of a firearm and introduce youth hunters early to shooting to make sure the weapon is safe to use and they know how to be safe shooting it. For a bow, it means finding one with the proper draw length and weight so it is comfortable to pull back and shoot. Bear Archery has several youth bow packages that are specifically designed with kids in mind. Without considering the right equipment, including a firearm or bow, your kids may become frustrated and disappointed. Equip them properly, no different than you would yourself, for successful youth hunting.

6 Youth Hunting Mistakes to Avoid 

Hunting with kids is both rewarding and challenging. It is much different than hunting with a buddy or by yourself. Once you have peaked an interest in hunting, avoid these six mistakes when taking your kids hunting.

Unrealistic Expectations

Expectations for youth hunting are and should be, much different than those you have heading to the woods by yourself. Kids will be restless and inquisitive, both of which should be expected while hunting. Encourage questions about the outdoors and hunting. Hunting with younger kids is more about the experience and teaching them the sport than harvesting an animal. Avoid getting frustrated when game animals get spooked away or if you are bombarded with questions during a youth hunting outing.

Not Focusing on Fun

If something is not fun, a child will be reluctant to do the activity again. The same holds true with hunting. Instead of trying to sit motionless for hours on end, identify birds and trees or start a mini scavenger hunt to keep it fun. Let them use your Nikon binoculars to spot game or blow a few grunts from your Primos grunt tube. In addition, talk up hunting every chance you get. Half of the adventure is the anticipation and the planning before the hunt.

Missing Youth Hunting Opportunities

Many states have started youth hunting seasons as a way to give youngsters an opportunity outside of the normal adult hunting seasons. These few days a year can be some of the best for youth hunting as hunting pressure is limited and some even provide an early chance at deer or turkeys before the main season opens.

There are also many mentored youth hunting programs available in different states to provide opportunities for kids to learn from a licensed adult hunter. License fees are reduced and special privileges are granted to youth hunters as a way to expand their opportunities. Take advantage of all you can.

Forgetting Safety First

Safety should always be priority one while hunting, especially when hunting with kids. Avoid even the chance of a safety mistake by thinking ahead on what may be encountered during the hunt. For instance, focus on firearm safety if going out for deer or discuss how to walk safely through the woods if you plan on traversing rough terrain. Accidents do and will happen, but preparing beforehand as much as possible from a safety standpoint lessens the chances they will.

Hunting in Extreme Weather

Days in the woods are limited by work and other daily life responsibilities. Avoid pushing to hunt on a day when the weather is bad. Nothing can ruin a youth hunting experience more than being uncomfortable while in the field. If bad weather cannot be avoided, then make sure you have the proper youth hunting clothing and gear needed to make the experience as comfortable and safe as possible.

Overly Controlling the Hunt

Part of hunting is being outdoors. That means enjoying and exploring the natural environment. A common mistake, particularly with younger hunters, is to overly control every action of the hunt. Relinquishing control on things like letting your kids prepare their own youth hunting gear or having them use the Garmin to find the hunting spot are all ways to get them more involved in the hunt. It is part of the learning process, and by doing everything for them they will never be able to learn from their mistakes.

To conclude, there are many opportunities and challenges when it comes to youth hunting. Getting kids involved in hunting is a rewarding experience for a parent or hunting mentor. Your focus should be to get kids involved early without pushing them, make a good first impression when hunting and to give them the proper tools, clothing and gear they need to be successful.

In order to continue the enthusiasm for hunting beyond those first few hunts, avoid certain mistakes like having unrealistic expectations, not having fun, missing youth hunting opportunities, forgetting about safety, hunting in extreme weather and controlling every aspect of the hunt. Finally, hunting with kids comes down to the experience and instilling in them the values the sport provides with the hope they will continue the tradition on into their adult lives. Reflect on each youth hunting outing not only from your perspective but from your child’s viewpoint. Let them shape the experience and tell the tale from their eyes. Getting kids involved and trying to avoid youth hunting mistakes along the way go far in growing the next generation of outdoorsmen and women.

raised hunting tells us about hope | Raised Hunting

Wide Open Spaces | The Most Meaningful Episode Yet


By Eric Pickhartz
October 13, 2016

We spoke with David Holder from Outdoor Channel’s ‘Raised Hunting’ to find out about a very special episode airing October 15 at 11:30 am ET.

David Holder, no matter what he’s doing, is thinking about bowhunting. That was apparent throughout our recent conversation with one of the stars of ‘Raised Hunting,’ Outdoor Channel’s excellent portrayal of how hunting can bring families together for the good of everyone.

Holder cut out some time from his hunting season preparations to reflect on the show, and specifically the newest episode, airing this Saturday at 11:30 am ET on Outdoor Channel. Entitled “HOPE,” the episode takes a rare look at how being affected by something as painful as cancer can cause a positive change in perspective.

David quickly shared his tremendous pride in the full third season of ‘Raised Hunting’ and talked about how the show has progressed.

“Season 1 went really well. We won a few awards, even from the Outdoor Channel,” he said. “Season 2, it was still kind of ‘Okay, they liked it, we gotta do it again.’ But Season 3 we were really ready for. We had our legs underneath us, and we believe, without a doubt, this is by far the best season of episodes we’ve aired. Both in the cinematography we’ve put forward, and the storylines that are there, and then the way that we’ve put them together. It’s really like watching 13 miniature movies.”

He gets a kick out the folks who send photos of ‘Raised Hunting’ stickers on their trucks and t-shirts sporting the show’s logo. He admits the audience has already developed into a community, made up of likeminded followers who can relate to a family like the Holders.



“It’s more of a culture that people are proud of being a part of, and we’re proud to have them,” said Holder.

Reaching those people, with not only great hunting television, but also important messages, is what Holder seems to hold most precious. That led us to the discussion on “HOPE” and the story behind it.

The episode is so interesting “not because David Mitchell kills the largest deer that any of us have ever shot, in this family or anything we’re connected with,” Holder said, but for a different reason altogether.

Take a minute to let that sink in. A hunting television show captured tremendous footage of the biggest deer anyone in the family had ever harvested, and that’s not even the strongest, most meaningful aspect. How common is that?

“The episode is really about one of my best friends and his wife, and their battle with breast cancer,” Holder shared. “We just didn’t think we could do justice to this. It’s just such a sensitive story, and it affects so many people.”



When discussing the possibility of not airing the biggest buck taken by the ‘Raised Hunting’ team, Holder said, “Absolutely. if the story can’t be told correctly, it shouldn’t be done.”

“At that point, it just seemed to all fall in place,” he said.

Holder spoke more about Tammy, Mitchell’s wife, and knew that her role in the story was bigger than the deer’s.

“I don’t want to say she didn’t care for hunting, but she didn’t care that her husband and I spent as much time doing it together as we did,” he said. “Going from that place to then realizing, after this whole battle, that ‘My husband needs to go do things, too.’ Not only did she allow it, but she actually pushed David Mitchell to come hunting with me, and go have that time, because she realizes, probably more so than any of us, how important each and every day is.”

The outcome of the experience doesn’t end with just a great episode, either. Holder filled us in on the pink arrow wraps that ‘Raised Hunting’ has started offering, and the meaning behind them.



“How can I get involved? How can I help someone who, maybe I don’t know their story?” Holder asked himself. “So that’s what we did, we came up with the arrow wraps, that are pink in color, and people can wrap their arrows to show that they know someone fighting the fight. You can represent and make the statement, ‘I’m not going to forget what you’re going through.’”

The wraps can be found on, and David encourages bowhunters to try them out, share them with other hunters, and show the support. His entire family will be carrying them this season.

Holder also talked about the importance of introducing kids to hunting and the outdoors, sharing some interesting thoughts that aren’t always fully voiced. His own involvement in hunting camps has taught him that it’s okay if kids don’t show extreme interest in the outdoors. A base understanding is sometimes all you can get.

“What we’re hoping is that they’re shown, at an early age, what hunting’s all about,” he said. “Then, even if they grow up and decide they don’t actually want to shoot animals themselves, they’ll be an advocate or a supporter of hunting.”

His own kids, uniquely placed in a spotlight that most young hunters will never see, seem to be following David’s example. He commented on how he stresses humility and appreciation, so that his kids have a better understanding about the world of hunting.

“The thing that worries me is that this will become easy for my kids,” he said. “I hope they’ll always appreciate what they’re blessed with. One of the things that seems to have happened, not to everyone, thank goodness, but he size of an animal has become such a… well, if it’s not a big rack, you don’t shoot it, right? And I’m worried that my boys will get caught up in that, and that will be the only thing we’ll be looking for.”

That’s the kind of fatherly advice any young hunter could spare to hear. Holder said his show’s main objective is to keep positive stories in the world of hunting, and if you ask us, he’s achieving that.

If viewers feel like connecting with that community that David spoke about, they can join the conversation by using: #RaisedHunting. Follow the series on Twitter,Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

stuffed elk backstrap wild game recipe | Raised Hunting

Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe | Wild Game Recipe

A Raised Hunting Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

  • Slice the elk backstrap down the middle and pound out flat
  • Sauté spinach and 5-6 (or more) garlic cloves
  • Spread on elk backstrap, then I added prosciutto with mozzarella cheese.
  • Roll and tuck, roll and tuck.
  • Truss with baking string (most meat markets have and will share)
  • I grill with charcoal, but whatever you use, make sure it is good and hot.
  • Sear all sides, couple minutes on each, cook till desired temp.
  • Take off grill and let meat rest 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Note: photo is before completely cooked in order to show the color variation. Please be sure to cook to your desired level.

smoked elk backstrap wild game recipe | Raised Hunting

Smoked Elk Backstrap | Wild Game Recipe

A Raised Hunting Favorite Smoked Elk Backstrap Recipe

  • Rub the night before with your favorite seasonings, cover and leave in fridge over night.
  • Slice slits into the back strap, insert a garlic clove into each slit, rub with olive oil and flip over and so the same thing.
  • Top with any combination of bread crumbs: can modify.
    • Cubed French bread
    • Fresh thyme
    • Garlic salt
    • Toss with olive oil and toast.
  • Roll out to a fine crumb mixture and top meat.
  • Smoke for 3-4 hours.
  • Smoke over with favorite wood chip for 3-4 hours, then finish to desired temperature on the grill.