RAFD Bow Hunting Camps | Peterson’s Bowhunting

Raised at Full Draw | Bow Hunting Camps

By: Emily Katner

Article From Peterson’s Bowhunting

Anyone who has truly been raised hunting knows that it’s more than just filling some tags once a year — it’s a way of life. It’s about sharing a passion for the outdoors with family, adopting an active lifestyle, developing a conservation ethic and consistently honing those hunting skills.

And that’s what David and Karin Holder are teaching kids through their Raised at Full Draw youth bow hunting camps.

Fifteen years ago, David began working with a camp in Montana where kids learned elk calls, and he eventually started incorporating some hunting tips into the instruction. With insight from his sons who were attending the camp, David learned that the kids were most interested in the practical lessons they could apply in the field.

So, the Holders formed their own bow hunting camp — Raised at Full Draw — and are now entering their fifth year in Iowa and have expanded to Illinois and Montana…

Read more: Full Article

Click here to find out more about Raised at Full Draw Bow Hunting Camps!

How to Get Kids Hooked on Turkey Hunting

Take Time for Turkey Hunting with Kids


PHOTO: A few months ago we posted a photo of a 15 year old young man Austin Ochsenhirt who was in the midst of chemo treatments to battle Leukemia. This weekend I had the privilege to hunt with this young man and his grandfather “Pap” at a Hope Outdoors event in STE Genevieve MO..We can proudly announce that Austin is not only in REMISSION!!, but he is officially a RAISED HUNTING turkey reaper!!!! Please join us in saying THANK YOU GOD!! – David Holder


If you have children in your life, you likely want to pass some of your outdoor passion and skills onto them at some point. You probably learned how to hunt from your parents or grandparents and have many fond memories of it. Now you desperately wish to be that kind of youth hunting mentor to the next generation. The spring turkey season is the perfect way to get them involved right now and teach them the skills they need. But turkey hunting with kids can be frustrating sometimes. It’s not always easy or enjoyable, and that’s especially true when you don’t take the right approach. If you miss certain truths about hunting with kids and don’t take the necessary preparatory steps first, it will be an uphill battle you’re likely to lose. What’s worse, you could risk turning them off of hunting for several years or throughout their lifetimes if you do it wrong.

But it’s obviously critical for more youth to get involved in hunting again. As each generation grows up and more people leave rural areas for cities, the number of hunters drops. That’s a huge problem. Hunters are largely responsible for funding wildlife and habitat projects across the U.S., and have a real interest in the success of those programs. Hunting can also teach kids many core values that are important and relevant in their everyday lives. So if you’ve been thinking about taking your kids turkey hunting, now is the time.


Remember Hunting Safety First


As you start turkey hunting with kids, you need to remember one thing above all. Make sure you take time to teach your kids about safe hunting practices. Even if they’re just sitting with you and not physically pulling the trigger, they need to understand what’s safe and what isn’t. That means you also need to demonstrate safe behaviors yourself. Kids learn mostly by observing role models in their lives. If you take time now to set a positive image in their minds, they will be more likely to be safe hunters once it’s time for them to go out on their own.


Tips for Turkey Hunting with Kids


There are a couple things you can proactively do to keep your kids happy (and you sane) while turkey hunting. That’s probably the biggest principle you can take away from this article: keep things fun. If your kids don’t have a good time or they feel like they’re being yelled at or ridiculed, they might be more inclined to pass on the next hunting trip. Not to say you should coddle them either; take advantage of teachable moments without resorting to yelling.


Hide Your (Kids’) Movement

It’s often been said that the hardest thing to teach a kid is to be still. Just look at them. They’re always reaching for something, fidgeting around, or not-so-quietly whispering something. Obviously all of the above are bad news when it comes to hunting turkeys. Wild turkeys have amazing eyesight and can notice when you even slightly shift your shotgun, let alone when your son or daughter is practically vibrating. In addition, the weather during turkey hunting season is usually pretty dicey, especially in the early parts of the season. It wouldn’t be uncommon to hunt in cold, windy, and rainy conditions. As you can probably guess, that’s some of the worst weather to try turkey hunting with kids. That is, if you’re exposed.



The easiest way to conquer those issues is through using a hunting blind. Within a blind, they can stay dry, feel comfortable, and have the freedom to move around a bit without jeopardizing your hunt. Primos® Double Bull Bullpen blind features 180-degree view and plenty of room for a couple kids and even a camera man. Placed on a clover field or hay field that greens up ahead of most other food sources, you can be sure you’ll see turkeys. Even if it’s all hens and jakes, just being able to watch turkeys in the wild is a valuable opportunity for your child. But a word of warning: a hunting blind should not mean a free pass for your kid to do what they want. They’re still learning how to hunt turkeys after all, which means holding still and being quiet. If they don’t learn that lesson while in the field, they will be set up for failure later on.

Turkey Hunting Practice Tips

If your child is of a legal hunting age and can actually hunt with you instead of just observing, you need to set them up for the best possible outcome well before you go hunting. Plan on practicing shotgun youth shooting skills beforehand until you feel they can make an ethical shot and handle the pressure. Let them pattern their youth shotgun on a turkey outline so they can feel confident about themselves and not fear the recoil. Teach them how to use their own Primos® turkey calls and practice with them in the weeks before the season. In the field, let them do a few calls themselves. It might not sound great, but that will be a learning experience in itself. Take time to watch turkey hunting videos together and make sure they understand the process as much as possible before you go out.


Keep it Fun

As mentioned earlier in the article, the best way to fuel the hunting fire in your son or daughter is to have fun with them. Turkey hunting with kids can be frustrating, but only if you go into it with the wrong expectations. Try to not pressure your kids into hunting with you; instead, ask them to go, but don’t push them if they don’t want to. Let them come to you. If they’re interested, go shopping with them and let them pick out some of their own Realtree® turkey hunting camo clothes.



Adopt a different frame of mind when you hunt with your kids. You’re not really out there to kill a gobbler; that’s just a bonus if it happens. You’re out there to spend time with your kids in a different capacity and introduce them to the beautiful sport of hunting. As such, keep hunts on the short side, especially if the weather is poor and you’re not in a hunting blind. As soon as they start losing interest or complaining, it might be time to pack it in for the day. But if you’d like them to stay as long as possible, bring some snacks and talk with them. Make it feel like a fun adventure with their mom or dad, not a boring time of being quiet.


Try Turkey Hunting with Kids


Remember that in the end, taking kids hunting can and should be a really fun experience for both of you. It should be a time of bonding, not frustration and anger. Also remember that hunting teaches life lessons that your child will really benefit from; don’t cheat them from it. Take time to be a good hunting mentor and role model for them, and you’ll gain a hunting partner for life.

Preparing Youth Hunters for Their First Turkey Hunt

Preparing a Youth Hunter for a First Time Turkey Hunt

Preparing a youth hunter for their first turkey hunt can be exciting and daunting at the same time. For a first time experience that will bring the highest shot opportunity, plan the youth’s first turkey hunt in an area during a time with the greatest chance for success. In many areas, the highest percentage of kills are between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. These results are typically due to hens going to set on the nest during those hours leaving lovesick toms on the hunt for lone hens. Try to find a location to hunt with a good turkey population.


Youth Hunting Safety

Safety is the most important factor any time a firearm is being handled. It is imperative that you not only teach the safety rules to the youth hunter prior to the hunt, but it is also critical to keep reminding them at any given opportunity; repetition is key to instilling firearm safety. If the youth is under ten years old, it may be a good idea for the adult to carry the gun in and out of the field. However, the youth still needs to have a clear understanding as to the safety rules of handling a firearm.

Preparing Youth Hunters for the Shot

Once the youth is well versed on firearm safety, it is time to work on marksmanship. Before the youth ever takes that first shot at a turkey target, a mentor needs to take the time to explain turkey anatomy and the perfect aiming point for a swift ethical kill. It is important that the youth has the opportunity to experience some range time with the weapon they will be hunting with. For safety reasons and greatest results, the equipment should properly fit the youth hunter. It is critical that the youth is comfortable with whatever weapon they will use on the hunt.

A youth model 20 gauge semi-automatic shotgun would be the perfect combination for smaller framed youth hunters; whereas a 12 gauge can be handled easily by larger framed youth hunters. Shorter barreled shotguns will weigh less but have been known for a little more recoil. The shotgun should have a highly visible sight system such as a bright bead system or a red dot scope. Using light loads on the range will result in the lowest recoil and will allow the youth to become comfortable with shooting while building marksmanship. For accuracy and correct sight picture, use life-size, realistic targets such as Primos Shotgun Patterning Turkey Targets.

If they are a young bow hunter by chance, make sure you outfit them and prepare them with the right gear. The Cruzer G2 is the perfect starting bow for a youth hunter. From 5 – 70 lbs, and 12- 30-inch draw, the bow is versatile to supply a tool for any age.

Youth hunters shooting crossbows and compound bows is on the rise and is quickly becoming a “one-size-fits-all” solution for families. Again, it is important that the youth hunter knows the anatomy of a turkey, knows where to place the shot, and is comfortable with shooting the crossbow or bow. This again goes back to teaching them where to shoot in relation to the position and body of a turkey. A real-sized 3D turkey target helps them get dialed in quick, ensuring that they are comfortable with the shot ahead of time.

What to Plan for and Expect

Parents often struggle with deciding what age is acceptable to introduce turkey hunting to youth hunters. Every child is going to be different, but the most important factor is that the youth is mentally and physically ready. Young kids can be restless because their attention span is much shorter than that of an adult. Occupy their mind with as much as possible but not at the sake of the hunt. Keeping the hunts short will be advantageous in efforts of ensuring that the youth has a positive experience. With younger children, hunting in a blind is the best solution for maximum coverage of any movement. The Primos Double Bull Blind has ample room in it for two people and offers a great range of view with maximum window adjustability for shorter shooters.

It is not a good idea to introduce turkey hunting on a day when harsh conditions are in the forecast but often this is something mentors will have no control over. Harsh conditions require adequate clothes and boots and when in doubt take extra layers or rainwear. Comfort is critical to the enjoyment of the hunt. Try to use a route to your hunting spot that is easily accessible and if that is not possible, take extra efforts in assisting the youth on the walk by carrying the gear and providing a low light source.

Not all hunts have to start before sunrise. Younger youth hunters may be fearful of walking in the woods before daylight. It is also easy to get disoriented and harder to get set up properly with minimal movement. The time before daylight added to the time spent in the field waiting for fly-down light will make for a long hunt. If at all possible leave a little later, after sunrise, for those areas that you have scouted and know that the birds will take longer traveling to.

If you can involve the youth hunter in the hunt by allowing them to set up decoys or strike a call a few times, this will not only be memorable for the youth hunter; it will also give them a sense of pride that they have helped in the hunt. The knowledge of hunting must be learned through experience, and this is the most effective way of passing on knowledge to the next generation.

Hunting Gear and Items to Bring

As mentioned, practicing with a lighter magnum load is a good way to improve a youth hunter’s marksmanship, but once in the field, a heavier, denser ammunition will need to be used. On the hunt, 20 gauge 2 ¾” magnum ammunition will be plenty of shot for up to a 25-yard shot. For older, larger framed youth, a 3” 1-1/4 ounce turkey load will give the shooter up to a 30-yard shot max to ensure a clean kill. Using a turkey choke such as the Jelly Head Maximum or Tight Wad will ensure a denser pattern keeping most of the shot within the targeted area. Briefly reminding the youth hunter where to place the shot on the turkey is never a bad idea.

A shooting stick that sticks into the ground, one that attaches to the shotgun, or a tripod such as the Primos Trigger Stick Short Tripod is recommended to steady the shot and can also assist a youth hunter in holding all of the weight of the shotgun up when a gobbler is taking its time coming into the setup.

Decoys are not only helpful in catching the interest of a gobbler and enticing it to travel into the decoy setup, but they can also assist in preoccupying the Tom so that slight movements by the youth hunter can go unnoticed. There are numerous decoys available but it is always good to have at least one hen and one Jake or Tom decoy so you can entice a Tom to your setup. There is a myriad of ways to set up decoys for and effective set. However, the most important factor is to have the decoys close enough to the youth hunter that if the Tom hangs up just before reaching the decoys, it will still be within a comfortable shooting distance.

Make sure that the youth hunter has a pair of quality binoculars. Binoculars are not only good for passing the time, but they will also come in handy for viewing birds and bird activity from a distance.

Passive voice ear protection is important and should be worn by the youth hunter. Passive voice allows the youth hunter to hear your instructions without them removing the protection from their ears. There are a variety of styles on the market, from inner-ear to over-the-ear protection, a youth specific model will ensure that the ear protection fits properly affording the most protection available from the product and doesn’t interfere with the shotgun stock.

Full and complete camo is crucial and must include a face mask and gloves for the maximum amount of concealment. Again, it is important to buy youth specific apparel for proper fit and best performance. A quality pair of boots that fit properly is vital to the comfort of the youth hunter. Waterproof boots are always a good idea turkey hunting because you never know when you will need to use creek lines, cross through ditches, or traverse across a muddy AG field to cut the distance on a gobbling tom. Snake boots or gaiters may be necessary in some areas such at the southern states. A turkey vest is not necessarily needed, but it is a good place for the youth hunter to keep any items they will take on the hunt and often offer a cushion for those times it is necessary to sit on the ground.

As mentioned, utilizing a blind not only gives the maximum amount of concealment, it also offers the mentor the freedom of allowing younger or more active youths the opportunity to entertain themselves with a game, book, or to snack on food to occupy their time. When selecting a blind chair for the youth hunter, make sure it is adjustable to see over the blind windows, and the youth hunter is still able to touch the ground to sturdy or brace themselves for the shot.

It is important for hunters to pass on the hunting heritage and conservation efforts to our youth; they are the future of hunting. As mentors, we should always strive to teach safety and ethics to the youth interested in hunting. Taking a youth on their first hunt is not only exciting for the youth, but it is also something that the mentor will cherish from the experience if the hunt is laid out properly and planned for. Above all things, never hunt a youth longer than they want to be out in the woods or if they are uncomfortable. If the youth is ready to end the hunt, always remember, it is their hunt; end it on a good note and encourage them to return to the woods.