bucket list hunts | Raised Hunting

Bucket List Hunts

Raised Hunting | Bucket List Hunts

If you are #RaisedHunting, then chances are you your life is an enjoyable one. You know life is short, and you have chosen to live it up to its fullest potential by being an individual or family that enjoys hunting the great outdoors. While you love spending time in the outdoors, the local woods, and traversing the local terrain, you still have your own bucket list. However, this list is not what most people would consider a full-fledged “Bucket List”…it’s scribbles on a notebook paper that are bucket list hunts.

Bucket List Hunts | Raised Hunting S3E8 “Bucket List” Teaser
(Video) – Life is short, but thankfully by the good graces of God he has granted us the short amount of time between when we are born, and when we die. For the hunter, spending life in the woods hunting is how we choose to enjoy our time here on earth. For some of us, this means making a bucket list. Unlike the rest of the world, our bucket list does not revolve around minor things or activities, much more than that our list contains bucket list hunts. Hunts that live in our dreams that we would give anything to go on. These bucket list hunts are what makes life special and is using the time on earth that we have to its full potential. On this episode, an ailing father sparks a wife to make sure her husband doesn’t go through life not at least trying to fulfill one of the larger goals on his bucket list… a Kansas whitetail hunt!

 

What are Your Bucket List Hunts?

The life the good lord gave us is short, but it is good one. What we do with the time given, is up to us. So the question is have you set goals. If so what are they? For hunters, goals look like a notebook paper, with species scribbled down… all bucket list hunts. These are hunts of a lifetime that we dream of every season. So have you made one yet? What are your bucket list hunts?

Some may look like this…

  • Caribou
  • Brown Bear
  • Black Bear
  • A Boone and Crockett Whitetail
  • Elk
  • Big Horn Sheep
  • Mountain Goat
  • Mule Deer

They don’t have to be in North America, why not just have a bucket list of hunts for different areas…

  • Hunts in ALASKA!
  • Hunts in AFRICA!

What species, what area, and what style of hunting make up your bucket list hunts? More importantly, have you started on your list?

youth hunting tips introducing youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Youth Hunting | 5 Tips for Introducing Youth Hunters to Shooting

Youth Hunting | Introducing Youth to Hunting Starts at the Range

Seeing your children grow year after year is one of the most rewarding experiences of parenthood. As they age, your kids begin to follow your lead in every aspect of life including hunting. Their passion for the outdoors and hunting is budding, and you have to make a decision as to when it is time to introduce youth hunters to shooting. Youth hunting starts at the range and the sooner you can introduce them to shooting the better.

Introducing Youth Hunters to Shooting

youth hunting tips introducing youth hunting | Raised Hunting

What is the right age to introduce youth hunters to shooting? That is completely dependent on you and the child you are introducing to shooting. Every child is different. The decision to start teaching your youngster the basics and safety of proper shooting and handling of firearms is something that requires the upmost confidence in your own skills and those of your young hunter. Here are 5 tips to help you to be successful with introducing kids to shooting on the range.

  1. Start slow

Not all kids are ready to start shooting when you are ready to teach them. Do not force shooting on them but rather let them start when they are ready and show an interest. Too much pressure to start shooting can quickly turn them off. Youth hunters should move forward at their own pace with some guidance and be comfortable with shooting.

  1. Choose the right youth hunting gun

Caliber choice basically comes down to either an air rifle (BB-gun or .177) or .22 long-rifle for those youth hunters who are just learning to shoot. Anything more and the recoil can be too hard to control and could easily scare kids away from learning to shoot. Make sure the gun is the right fit for your new shooter. Ill-fitting youth hunting guns are hard to shoot for kids. Children should feel comfortable while shooting so they are more safe and more on target with each shot.

  1. Youth shooting fundamentals

Start by going over all the parts and functionally of the firearm you have chosen to shoot. Keep it simple but be detailed enough so your youth hunting partner knows the basics. Next, determine your new shooter’s dominant eye and shooting hand. Discuss the fundamentals of a good shooting position such as a solid rest, secure grip, breath control and trigger squeeze. This should all be discussed and practiced with an unloaded firearm. Once both you and your child feel ready, take it to the range for the real thing.

  1. Demonstrate

After going through the fundamentals, demonstrate your instructions by going through the same fundamental steps yourself. Shoot a few rounds from the same youth hunting gun he/she will use. Show your youngster exactly how to complete each step, from loading to pulling the trigger, so that they can see how the process unfolds in an actual shooting scenario.

  1. Make it fun

Once you have your youth hunting partner interested in shooting, have the right gun and have gone over the fundamentals, it is time to shoot and shoot often. Keep shooting fun. Days on the range firing round after round at a simple white ten ring will quickly lose your kids interest. Use targets that imitate animals like squirrels and groundhogs. Don’t just shoot at paper targets either. Metal dingers of different sizes are fun, and the shooter knows right away whether or not they hit their mark.

youth hunting tips introducing youth hunting | Raised Hunting

The same five tips hold true for youth bowhunting. More importantly with youth bowhunting is finding the right kids bow that your child can manage to hold comfortably and be able to draw successfully. Find a youth bow that has an adjustable draw length and weight. This will allow the bow to grow with your child from practicing to hunting without having to purchase another new bow as they grow.  Finally, as with introducing kids to gun shooting, make bow shooting fun for kids. This will keep them engaged and hungry for more time on the range.

Youth shooting at the range should encompass every aspect of the activity. In addition to the fundamentals and actually shooting, do not forget to explain the rules of the shooting range and range etiquette. This is important, not only for safety but to be courteous of others shooting.

Safely Teaching Youth Hunters to Shoot

Absent from the tips above is safety. It was not left out because it is not important. On the contrary, it is so important that it requires its own section. Teaching children gun safety is the number one priority when shooting. There is too much at stake to be careless with safety when it comes to kids shooting a gun or a bow. Even more important is to teach the right safety procedures to youth hunters from day one.

First, always keep the barrel of the firearm in a safe direction at all times. Never point a weapon at anything other than a target or game you are hunting. Second, treat every gun as if it were loaded. Do not take for granted a firearm is unloaded and additionally keep guns unloaded until you are ready to use it. Third, be sure of your target while shooting. You must always know your surroundings. Know what is in front of, behind and around your target. Fourth, keep your finger away from the trigger until you are certain you are ready to fire the weapon.

Safety with the firearm itself is important, but so is safety when it comes to shooting. Always wear ear protection and safety glasses when on the range. Be aware of your surroundings at all times because you cannot be sure those around you shooting are practicing the same safety measures you are.

Youth Shooting Opportunities

As you build confidence and the skills needed to be a successful young shooter, there are additional ways to get more opportunities at the range. Check with your local sportsmen club for youth shooting days or classes. Some gun clubs even hold youth shooting leagues in air rifle and .22 Look into youth shooting opportunities with your county or state 4H. Frequently 4H will host shooting camps or demonstrations for young hunters. For those starting to shoot archery, most outdoor summer camps typically offer archery shooting at some level. Specialized youth summer camps like the Raised at Full Draw Bowhunting Camps go into great detail not only on proper shooting techniques and safety but also bowhunting skills that help young outdoors people excel at the sport.

To sum up, make shooting as fun as possible for youth hunters. Take time introducing youth hunters to shooting. Explain the fundamentals and demonstrate the proper way to handle and shoot a firearm. Address safety in a deliberate and serious manner. If we teach our children to respect shooting at a young age, they will carry that respect for firearms throughout their youth hunting and into adulthood.

summer archery practice equals better bow hunting | Raised Hunting

Summer Archery Practice Equals Better Bow Hunting

Drills and Routines to Keep Your Summer Archery Practice On-Target

Summertime means many different things to different people. For most of us, it’s a time for backyard barbecues, hanging out at the lake, and maybe improving your golf swing. But for bow hunters, it’s also a time to get ready for the upcoming season through regular summer archery practice sessions.

But that’s not always the case, is it? All too often, we start the spring months telling ourselves we’re going to practice every week until we can almost shoot blindfolded once archery season opens. But our plans to become the modern day Robin Hood start to lag behind as the kids start summer break, the lawn needs mowing, the fish are biting, and any number of other distractions start to take their toll. Before we know it, it’s already August and we haven’t practiced more than a couple times.

This puts more pressure on you to cram a lot of bow practice in before opening day. The problem with this last-minute approach is that we tend to overdo it. We start flinging so many arrows that our archery shooting form can get worse and we develop bad habits. We also don’t have time to work out any kinks with our hunting equipment or really fine-tune our bows. Worst of all, we expose ourselves to injury when we go from not shooting at all to shooting dozens of arrows a day. A pulled shoulder muscle or rotator cuff issue could put you out for the season. Nobody wants that.

Looking for a simple solution? Start your bow practice now so you can have enough time to truly get proficient again without sacrificing your health or form. Regular archery practice builds muscle memory, so that shooting a bow becomes second nature to you. When the moment of truth comes, you can simply focus on the deer instead of all the micro-decisions about your form and where to aim the pin. As you’ve heard before, only perfect practice makes perfect. Let’s talk about how you can make it perfect this summer.

Start a Summer Archery Practice Routine

The best way to stick to regular practice sessions is to simply create a new routine. If it’s not scheduled into your calendar, it probably will get skipped (just like cleaning out the garage and painting the tool shed). It doesn’t take long to build a new habit, especially if you take a few precautions.

Pick a designated day of the week that you will practice, no matter what. For example, choose Wednesday evenings after work or Saturday mornings before the weekend activities get too hectic. It can really help to get others involved too as an accountability partner. A family member or friend should keep you honest when you don’t feel like going, and you should do the same for them. If the whole family hunts, you can make a new summer routine of practicing your bows together for some more family time. If everyone’s on the same schedule, there’s very little leeway to skip it.

Where to Practice Archery

If you’ve got the room to safely do some archery practice in your backyard (and it’s legal where you are), consider yourself fortunate. The backyard or somewhere very close is the best possible place to practice because it eliminates the primary excuse that most people have. If they have to load their bow and archery practice targets into the truck and drive somewhere just to shoot a few arrows, they’re much less interested in following through. As we said, there are lots of other distractions in the summer. 

But if you can simply walk out behind your garage or shed, where an archery target is already set up and waiting, you have no excuse. Archery practice at home can save you a lot of time. We’ll chat more about the details below, but it doesn’t take many arrows to build muscle memory and work on your form. Just take a few minutes to shoot one quiver, and call it a day to move onto your other activities. Easy.

If you must go off-site to practice, just realize that you will be tempted to skip once in a while. That’s where your accountability partner comes in. Early in the summer, you just need a safe place to shoot without getting too fancy. An open field will work perfectly as long as you get a good target and backdrop. But as opening day approaches, you may want to find a 3D archery range to make practice feel more realistic (more about that below).

Archery Form Is Critical

You’ve probably heard it a hundred different ways, but your form is really important when it comes to making consistent and accurate shots with a bow. Early in the summer is the time to practice and enforce good habits, so that you can focus on realistic bow hunting scenarios later in the year. Here are some pointers to keep in mind as you’re doing the archery practice drills below.

First, find a reliable anchor point for your release arm. It doesn’t matter if you choose your nose touching the string or your first knuckle lined up on your upper jaw. As long as you’re consistent, it should work. Even better, find a few anchor points that you can quickly reference in the field to keep your form consistent.

Many bow hunters also close their non-dominant eye to focus on the pin when they shoot. This limits your peripheral vision and can cost you valuable visual insight. Practice keeping both of your eyes open and focusing on the target instead of the pin, which will help you develop an instinct for the right shot and avoid tunnel vision.

Finally, another common form issue involves your bow arm. Many people drop their bow arm too quickly after a shot. It’s a natural reaction, but you can affect the flight of your arrow if it’s done too quickly. Start off by using a 5-second rule. After the shot, audibly count to 5 before you move your arms. It will feel really awkward the first couple times, but you’ll quickly develop a muscle memory for it and it will become second nature to you.

When you’re doing your bow practice with family or friends, they can help critique your form. They’re already watching you and can see what you can’t, which may just help correct a really bad error before it becomes too engrained. Plus, having someone else watch how well (or poorly) you shoot adds a certain pressure. You’ll feel a little nervous, which is how you’ll likely feel in a hunting scenario anyway. If you have children, consider sending them to a bow camp, like Raised at Full Draw to learn important archery skills and learn from watchful eyes in a team environment.

Archery Practice Drills

Archery target practice can get old quick if you’re shooting the same 10 arrows in the same way every single day. Luckily, there are countless ways for you to stay interested in regular summer bow practice. To stay committed to your practice, you need to find new ways to keep it fresh and have fun while you’re doing it. Below, we’ve collected just a few of the ways you can stay addicted to bow hunting throughout the summer months.

Fun Archery Games

Summer archery practice doesn’t have to be all work and no play. In fact, having fun is one of the best predictors of success there is. If it feels like work, you won’t want to do it in your spare time. And if you’re practicing with the family, you almost need archery games for youth to keep them interested so it doesn’t feel like just another chore. Here are a few archery games you can play with family and friends to have fun with archery this summer.

If you’ve played HORSE in basketball before, you can do the same with your bow. Archer A shoots at the target from a place they choose in a way that they choose (e.g. standing, sitting, etc.). Archer B then needs to do the same shot in order to pass the round. If they miss their mark, they earn their first letter (“H”). For the next round, Archer B should shoot first and A will follow. You continue in this fashion until someone has spelled the full word, “HORSE”, and they lose that game. Archery practice games like this are perfect for kids who play basketball since they already know the rules and it adds a competitive edge.

 

summer archery practice equals better bow hunting | Raised Hunting

If you’ve got the room for it, one of the most fun archery target shooting games involves long-distance shots. You can challenge yourself or a friend or family member to beat the distance of whoever shot last. It’s addicting to see who can shoot the furthest, but it will also help you in a few ways. Closer (normal distance) shots will feel a lot easier when you’re grouping arrows at 75 yards. But it’s not just for the mental game. Even if you’re not comfortable with long-distance shooting ethics, you may have a situation where you only wound a deer and get a second chance as they bound out to 70 yards. Being able to make that shot on an already-wounded animal may be your only opportunity to kill and retrieve it.

For these games, you can simply use old or cheap arrows for target practice since there is a good chance you could strip the fletching or even split an arrow. You definitely don’t want to use your best arrows for bow hunting. As your practice continues though, you should definitely switch out your arrows for target practice to shoot a few of your Gold Tip hunting arrows to make any adjustments to your bow before the season starts.

Make It Feel Real

If you’re focusing on building muscle memory, you might as well do it under as similar conditions as you’d hunt in as possible. You don’t necessarily need to do these in the beginning summer months when you’re simply getting your body used to shooting a bow again. That time is more about getting your form down again. But as the summer wears on, it helps to put yourself in a hunting simulation, if you will, to prepare your mind and body for the real deal. There are many ways to make your summer bow practice feel like an actual September bow hunt.

Around mid-summer, it helps to start shooting at 3D archery targets, which have several advantages over a 2 dimensional target face. You can find many bow hunting targets for sale that will fit what you’re looking for. They help you form a mental image in your head where you need to aim regardless of what angle the animal is facing. It’s very different than shooting at a 2D surface. If you aimed for the behind the shoulder shot at an animal that was quartering away too much, you probably wouldn’t get a kill. You need to adjust it further back, usually using the animal’s front leg on the other side as your guide. That mental image also helps to beat your nerves when you see a real animal beyond the pin. After shooting at bullseyes all summer, it’s hard not to get a little jumpy when you see a real deer.

To start adding some realistic details, try to simulate that excited feeling you get in a stand. No matter how many deer you’ve shot, a mature buck can still get your heart pumping (if it doesn’t, you probably shouldn’t be hunting). Since it’s hard to cause an adrenaline rush through mental imagery alone, you can use this physical hack instead. After the deer target is set up, you have a bow and arrow ready on the ground, and your release is on your wrist, go for a quick sprint. How far depends on your physical fitness. It could be a 10 yard dash or a 50 yard sprint. You want to be breathing pretty hard and a little shaky. Run to your Bear Archery bow and nock an arrow, shooting the target as soon as you can. This physically shaky state can partially replicate a real shot. It’s most useful later in the summer when your form is already dialed in and you just need to start preparing for the real deal.

Another way to add more realism to your summer bow practice is to shoot the way you’ll be hunting. For example, if you’ll primarily be in a tree stand, take your shots from a tree stand or other elevated position. This again changes the shot angle, which is easy to see on a 3D target. If you’ll be in a ground blind, practice shooting from one in a seated or kneeling position. You may also want to practice a few shots in low-light conditions, when you’re most likely to see a bruiser buck in the woods. As you get more comfortable in these situations, you eliminate potential surprises that could interfere with the real hunt. While it can be miserable to do in hot summer weather, wearing some of your hunting clothing while you shoot will help to get you used to the different form and technique that’s required.

Finally, you could take it to the extreme towards the end of the season to really get your head in the game. One of the best archery practice tips is to simulate a real hunt as best as you can. Get into a tree stand with your hunting clothing on. Only bring 1 or 2 arrows with you. These are the only arrows you’ll shoot for the day, so you need to make them count without 5 warm-up arrows. In reality, 2 arrows are probably the most you could get before a deer runs out of range anyway. Try to simulate the same feelings and remain as stealthy as possible. As opening morning gets closer, limit your archery practice to only a couple arrows a day. This reduces your chance of a repetitive stress injury right before the season starts, but it also helps shift your mindset to a 1-arrow opportunity.

Summer bow practice is really critical to improving your archery success. It allows you to experience many of the same feelings and situations you might find while hunting with a bow, which helps to prepare your mind for the real deal. Bow hunting is largely a mental game, but there is some physical muscle memory that you can work on too. The sooner you get started, the better your results will be.

bowhunting education strategies for summertime | Raised Hunting

Bowhunting Education Strategies for Summertime

Increasing Your Bowhunting Education during the Off-season

The heart of summer can be discouraging for most archery hunters. Opening day of deer season is a long wait for any avid hunter, but there is more to do than spend your days sitting around moping about it. Take this opportunity to increase your bowhunting education in preparation for the much anticipated fall season. Has there ever been a time when you have made a poor shot or lost your concentration under the pumping adrenaline as that shooter buck stood just yards from your stand? Most archery hunters can confess they have on at least one occasion. Adding the right archery tips and techniques into your bowhunting education strategy will make sure you are ready when the time comes. Use the down time this summer to improve your archery education and practice like you hunt.

Practice Like You Hunt 

Every hunt is different. There is no telling what situation you may be in when that trophy whitetail shows himself. Are you going to be in stand our perhaps sneaking down a trail during the afternoon? Part of the lore of hunting is these unscripted moments in the forest or field. One thing guaranteed is that the moments leading up to taking that shot will be full of excitement just as your arrow leaves your Bear Archery Bow. Simulating as many real hunting scenarios as you can into your off season archery practice can prepare you to be confident and certain when that long awaited situation comes to let the arrow fly.

Nailing arrows, one after another, into the vitals on your 3D target will not make you a better hunter. Most of us practice in the off-season but few truly increase their bowhunting education to a point where it needs to be for year after year archery hunting success. The most important archery training tip is to practice like you hunt. Few have harvested a whitetail at 15 yards broadside, standing with feet perfectly square, calm and under no influences from the weather.

Archery education is about taking your practice to a higher level. It is about understanding how your equipment will perform in different conditions. Dedicate time to create your very own mock-hunting experiences that you can share with your friends and family. Practice shooting from tree stands, ground blinds and on the open ground, all while varying shot types in these positions. Also, practice while suited up in your hunting clothing so that when you pull that bow back each shot is as real as it can get. The goal is to eliminate any surprises in the woods by practicing as many situations as possible. There are endless mock-shooting situations to practice that will increase your archery education. Practicing situations not only prepare you for shots that you may encounter this fall but also gives you the confidence to make the accurate shot when the time comes.

Stand Shots

Most hunters choose to pursue deer from tree stands, yet many only practice by shooting in the back yard on the ground with level shots. A critical archery training tip is if you plan to hunt from a tree stand then you should be practicing from a tree stand. Hang a stand in the back yard at elevations you would typically hunt from and position targets at various angles to make shots more realistic. Place targets in brushy cover areas as well so you can practice unexpected and more difficult shots that are typically in real hunts. Another archery training tip is to take shots while sitting in your stand. Sometimes you do not have time to stand and position perfectly towards an incoming buck. These shots are difficult and not ideal, but sometimes the only shot you may have on the buck of a life time is one that puts you in a seated position.

Take to the Ground

Even though many of us hunt from a tree stand, there comes a time when that perfect shot may occur from the ground. Either while walking to your stand in the afternoon during the rut or simply taking a stalking trek to break up the day; you should be prepared to take a shot from the ground. Start with shooting from your knees, again in realistic situations like in cover. Work with using your Nikon range finder to sight the distances; do not just set and shoot at predefined ranges. Rarely does a buck come in and stop exactly at 20 yards. Part of this bowhunting education is about understanding how your bow shoots while kneeling. Is there enough room to draw without your clothing or other archery equipment getting in the way? Many of these questions can be worked out now by taking a few shots from ground situations in the summer.

bowhunting education strategies for summertime | Raised Hunting

Your bowhunting practice strategy is about making as many awkward shots from different positions as possible so that when it comes to making the same shot at an animal it comes natural. Creating the most realistic practice will ultimately build enough confidence and experience to make your shot count when the moment of truth surfaces. Practice these different kinds of shooting situations to perfect your archery education going into next season.

Better Long-range Accuracy

The advancements in bow performance and technology have shooters being able to extend their shots well beyond the traditional 40 yard distance that was once the stopping point for taking a shot on a deer. Leveraging these advancements means you have to increase your archery education to a point where you can understand how to effectively use it while hunting. Practicing long-range shots also makes closer shots easier. Adding these few archery tips for accuracy will put more meat in the freezer and more trophies on the wall.

Things change exponentially when you start to shoot out past 40 yards when it comes to bowhunting. Just like practicing from tree stands or from the ground, your stance is important. Any unbalanced position magnifies error for shots that are even the slightest off target. Increasing distance also means you have to develop a proper grip on the bow. Relaxed grips help to reduce torque on the bow. The less torque the more accurate you will be shooting at greater distances. Many hunters put more grip on their bow handle when shooting at longer distances, but remember you want an open grip that sits into your palm to remain stable and accurate on release. Once you release the shot, the tendency is to drop the bow out of the way to track your arrow in flight until it hits your target. Shots at long range can take what seems like forever to reach your target even with today’s speedy bows. Keep your head on point the whole way through the shot until the arrow impacts. This will make sure you do not inadvertently jerk the bow as the arrow leaves the rest affecting the accuracy of the shot.

The two most important archery tips for accuracy at long ranges have nothing to do with form or even your equipment for that matter. To shot consistently well over 40 yards it takes breathe control and the confidence in execution you have from countless hours practicing. It can be intimidating to draw at a deer out at 40 yards or more. This nervousness usually forces you to hold your breath and tighten up. Resist this reaction! Holding your breath causes you to shake and lose focus on your target. Consciously practice breath control on long shots to keep the oxygen following while focusing in on your target. As your distance to target increases, there are so many variables that are out of your control such as how the animal may move or what obstructions may impact your shot that you did not see while aiming. All that you can do is have the confidence in your execution and your archery education to execute the best possible shot.

Bowhunting Education and Beyond

Now that you have taken the time to build your bowhunting education, summer is the perfect opportunity to increase your kid’s archery education. The same archery tips and techniques can be passed along to your kids or another person that is getting started in the sport. Not only teach proper and safe shooting with a bow but also give them the knowledge you have on wildlife, game care, ethical hunting and outdoor skills. Youth summer camps can be a great option to get your kids outdoors. Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) bowhunting education camps are one of the best camps if you are looking to build archery education in your next generation hunter. Summer programs for kids like RAFD camps promote archery skills, hunting and outdoor education like no other. Kids are giving the opportunity to practice immediately the skills they are taught. They leave each camp with an increased appreciation for hunting and the outdoors while building the archery education needed to be successful at the sport for years to come.

Bowhunting Education – Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) Bowhunting Camps.
(Video) – Promoting archery, hunting and outdoor education for the next generation.

Practicing archery shooting has to also be fun, either with kids or with yourself. Not every practice session should be rigorously working on the archery tips and techniques discussed above. Incorporate archery games and tricks into the mix to not only keep interest but make practicing and the sport enjoyable for all.

Bowhunting education is something that never stops. Each off-season should be a time gather the lessons of the past hunting season and improve your archery skills. Summertime can also be a break from hunting to get kids involved in archery through different summer programs for kids like RAFD camps. Work on practicing like you plan to hunt. Take shots from situations that you expect and do not expect to happen in the upcoming season. Incorporating the right archery tips and techniques into your archery education strategy will only yield more successful hunts.

family hunting why fathers day is important | Raised Hunting

Family Hunting | Why Father’s Day is Important

Father’s Day and Family Hunting Go Hand in Hand

Father’s Day always sparks nostalgic memories of family hunting days past with dads and family. This designated day for our fathers is not just about one single time of the year to hang out with your dad or children but rather it is a celebration of a yearlong position, a lifestyle, a duty and a way of being. It is a reminder to us of how our own fathers have provided guidance, instilled family hunting traditions and were just plain there for us growing up. For those of us with our own children, this day reminds us of the importance of being there for our kids as they grow just like our fathers have been there for us.

Why Father’s Day is Important

Father’s Day weekend is a joyous reminder of what should be one of the most important elements of family hunting. Hunting has transformed from an activity of necessity for most to one that brings millions to the woods each year to share cherished time in the natural world bonding with those loved ones that mean so much to us. The meaning of Father’s Day is more than the commercialization we see today. Often holidays are days we think about giving gifts. Although there is nothing wrong with celebrating your dad with gifts for Father’s Day, we must not forget the true meaning of the special day. Father’s Day is important to take time to reflect on our fathers and grandfathers and forefathers who came before us.

It is a day for dads to remember that special time when our children were born. Fatherhood is one of the greatest jobs that a man can have. Scary at first because there are so many unknowns, but the skills to teach our children are the ones that were passed down to us from our fathers and their fathers before them. Each day is a memory as a father. Who can forget that excitement we have enjoyed on that first family hunting adventure with our son or daughter. The time spent passing on the outdoor knowledge and lessons we were given from our fathers is truly what’s important as an outdoor dad.

The importance of Father’s Day also resonates with us as we celebrate those dads that have spent their lives being there for us through the many family hunting trips each year. We appreciate the time they have taken to introduce us to the outdoors while keeping the family hunting tradition alive in our own lives. Without our fathers many of us would never have been introduced to the sport of hunting.

family hunting why fathers day is important | Raised Hunting

Our Outdoor Dads

Fathers have taught their children how to embrace the outdoors, making it part of their life. We learned from our dads that the outdoors is our second home, one that is a safe place to explore and let go when you have the know-how and tools to make it such. Appreciation for the outdoors as part of family hunting is as much a part of our lives as the morals and integrity it provides. Family hunting traditions are part of us because these traditions make us stronger. They have shown so many of us that a successful hunt is not only about the kill but it is about sharing the outdoor experiences with others. Countless fathers have passed along life skills to their children through family hunting adventures.

It usually begins as youngsters; our fathers begin to bring us with them to the same areas they once were brought by their fathers. During these expeditions, our heads are overwhelmed with adventures and stories that have been experienced by our family hunting members who have hunted the same grounds year after year before us. Family hunting trips build our insatiable passion for the outdoors as we grow. Our fathers pass on these family hunting traditions like reading sign, appreciating nature and the primal skills needed to find and harvest game. These same trips are where we build our understanding of life. The important life lessons that are captured through the intimate relationship with the land and our fathers are the same ones we carry with us as we grow. Family hunting teaches us skills and life lessons that cannot be learned elsewhere in our early years. This passion for hunting is nurtured throughout our childhood by the many dads out there who took the time after work or on the weekends, even after a long work-week, to spend time with us hunting. Family hunting doesn’t just begin and end in childhood but it continues into adulthood. We continue to spend time with our fathers and family outdoors in each passing year. The bonds created are precious and are lifelong. Family hunting trips give time to reflect on life and for a short time forget about our daily challenges. Each time we suit up in our Realtree® Camo we connect with all the great times we have had with our outdoor dads.

family hunting why fathers day is important | Raised Hunting

5 Father’s Day Facts

Father’s day 2016 is set for June 19th, always occurring on the third Sunday in June. Following Mother’s Day on the calendar, Father’s Day is just not a United States holiday for grabbing the cooler and grilling out, but it is an important holiday that occurs in many other countries throughout the world. Here are 5 Father’s Day facts behind the holiday.

  1. Father’s Day was first celebrated on June 19th, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with inspiring the holiday after her father, a civil war veteran who raised six children as a single parent.
  1. After several attempts to create a formal holiday for dads, it was not until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers and designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. President Richard Nixon, 6 years later, signed it into law in 1972.
  1. American’s spend over $1 billion annually on gifts for dads. Cards are the most frequently purchased gifts for Father’s Day. According to Hallmark, Father’s Day is the fourth-largest card sending holiday in the country with over 74 million cards exchanged.
  1. There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers in the United States who will be celebrated this Father’s Day according to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (https://www.fatherhood.gov/content/dad-stats#Census).
  1. The official flower of Father’s Day is the rose. A red rose symbolizes those dads that are still living while a white rose are for those fathers who have past.

Family hunting goes hand in hand with Father’s Day. The importance of Father’s Day is to remind ourselves of the great mentors and teachers we have in our lives. Those that have provided countless family hunting adventures throughout our time growing up. It is also time to remember the wonderful aspects about being a father to our own children. Recall the shared family hunting trips and the enjoyment each day spent with our children brings. Whether you are an outdoor dad or have a father that has embedded family hunting traditions into your life, make this Father’s Day one to appreciate the importance of fatherhood.

Youth Hunting | Introducing Young Hunters to the Outdoors

Opportunities in Spring Turkey Season to Get Youth Hunting in the Outdoors

Connecting kids to the outdoors and passing along the traditions you grew up with are some of the most important reasons to get into the woods this spring with a child. Hunting, and particularly youth hunting, instills values, encourages healthy living and develops life skills such as discipline, respect and good sportsmanship. Spring turkey hunting is an opportunity for outdoor youth adventures to start a child’s lifelong desire for hunting by cultivating them into outdoor enthusiasts.

Think about the real reason most of us hunt. Part of hunting is certainly about being successful. Successful hunts, however, are not only defined by harvesting an animal. Most of us hunt because we love seeing game from one season to another. Hunters are outdoors people. We enjoy sitting in a stand during a silent evening sunset or listening for the sound of a turkey gobbling as the sun begins to rise on a spring morning. It is for these moments and the countless others that keep us preserving the sport. We get to see things in the wild that most have never seen and that brings with it a sense of triumph whether or not we bag an animal.

Youth hunting is about getting kids excited to be outdoors. Again, we all enjoy harvesting an animal but most of us are in the woods as much as possible because we are outdoor enthusiasts. Young children are geared for exploration. Make each hunting experience, from the very first hunt to when they start mastering the craft, an outdoor youth adventure. Allow them to explore the woods. Encourage kids to observe the natural environment around them by gathering insects or looking for birds. Teach them about the wilderness which surrounds them, such as names of trees or why a plant is growing in a particular area, all while making the connection between animals and their habitat.

Introducing young hunters to the outdoors youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Spring turkey season, especially later in the year, is perfect for introducing kids to hunting. The weather cooperates more than deer season making it easier to get youth outdoors. Warmer spring weather also means activity in the woods. Animals are active as flora and fauna begin to awaken from winter. Youth turkey hunting is much less about landing a gobbler but more so about introducing your child to the outdoors. Get youngsters geared up with a youth turkey hunting vest and other youth hunting gear so they feel like part of the hunt. If you have the opportunity, hunting out of a blind is the best way to go after turkeys with a kid. Blinds, combined with the right gear, provide more comfort for kids than setting up next to a tree on the ground. Kids can move around and softly talk in a blind while maintaining concealment waiting for an approaching turkey. A simple box call like the Primos Matchbox is a great addition to their youth turkey hunting vest. Show them the art of calling and let them practice even though it may be a bit scratchy and inconsistence, it gives them a sense of accomplishment in the field. End the hunt when they are ready. Do not push young hunters to sit for long periods of time or be uncomfortable from weather. Have fun and keep them engaged for the purpose of the hunt without the rigidity of your normal turkey setup, and the more successful your youth hunting experience will be.

Youth Hunting in Blinds – What goes in your hunting blind with you
(Video) – One of the most important parts of using a hunting blind is what goes in with you. You can move less and be comfortable than you will be more successful.

 

3 Keys to Successful Youth Turkey Hunting

  1. Safety – Hunting safely should be at the forefront of every hunter’s mind and even more so when afield with a child. Teach your children to respect and be aware of other hunters while in the woods. If that means wearing a youth orange vest for safety walking to and from your hunting spot, then do it. As they mature, get your kids involved in hunter education programs such as hunter safety courses, local sportsmen clubs and outdoor youth programs like the Raised at Full Draw Bowhunting camps. Safety is not always related to hunting. Kids are curious so be mindful of the potential for snakes and biting insects. Remember that accidents can happen to anyone, and hunting with someone who is inexperienced increases the likelihood. Don’t assume your child knows the ins and outs of hunting safety, but rather teach him or her through your own safe habits and behaviors in the woods.
  1. Correct Expectations – Setting unrealistic expectations can ruin not only your hunt but can be disastrous to your overall outdoor youth adventure. Young hunters are going to be restless. Keep in mind the hunt is more about exposing your child to the hunting experience than harvesting an animal. Encourage them to ask questions. Keep youth hunting trips short and active. Sit for a little and call them move on to another spot, only if it is just a 100 yards away, it will keep kids interested in the thrill of the hunt.
  1. Preparation – Preparing for a hunt is one of the most important phases. Be prepared with everything your child may need in the woods. Throw some snacks and drinks into your pack to refuel along the trail. Bring extra youth hunting clothes or rain gear in case it gets unexpectedly cold or rainy. Add a first aid kit to your youth hunting stuff to be ready for any minor injuries like cuts, scratches or bug bites. Also, have your child take part in hunting preparation. Let them pack their youth turkey hunting vest with the items they feel they need, which gives them an opportunity to contribute and gives you the chance to show them how to successfully prepare for a hunt.

Youth hunting is not for every child, and that’s OK. Don’t force it. The more a child feels pushed into outdoor youth adventures, the less he or she will want to do it. Back off and eventually your child may ask to go hunting with you. The earlier you introduce hunting to kids, the more likely they will continue hunting into adulthood. Use these early years to educate with the knowledge you have gained from your years of hunting to show them the wonderful outdoor world. Creating these outdoor youth adventures will produce a sense of purpose in the woods and continue the family hunting tradition. The time you spend outdoors with your children provides lifelong memories, ones that will instill within them the passion to pass along hunting experiences to future generations.

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger | Raised Hunting

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger

Hunting as a Family Makes a Difference

Tradition. That single word is loaded with so many meanings and interpretations. Most of them start with friends and family members gathered around the table or doing a fun event together. But in this case, we’re specifically talking about the family hunting tradition that’s so strong at Raised Hunting. When a father, mother, and children can all get together and do anything these days, it should be appreciated. But when they all willingly choose to spend their limited spare time with each other outdoors in some potentially miserable conditions, then we’re talking about something really special. How do these traditions start? What keeps them together instead of falling by the wayside in the face of hundreds of modern distractions? Let’s explore this a bit further.

Hunting as a family is by no means a new tradition. In fact, it used to be one of several traditional American family values. But the rise of modern civilization and agriculture offered many “conveniences” that ultimately made hunting less important for families. As a result, it dropped away in popularity or practice for many years and it is just now making gradual comeback. So whether you want to call this resurgence in the family hunting tradition an old one or a new interpretation of it, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s extremely essential.

Family Hunting – Raised Hunting Season 2 Trailer
(Video) – Raised Hunting is heading into year two. Come along as they take you on the continuous journey of life.

 

Why Are Family Traditions Important?

You might wonder why family hunting is such a big deal to begin with. Well there are several reasons. First, spending time with a group of like-minded individuals helps build a community of trust and belonging, which is critical for young children to feel. But it’s infinitely more important for them to feel supported and guided by their parents. Likewise, it gives parents another way to teach and spend time with their kids. They grow up very fast, so taking time to do those things while they’re younger will cement them in place for the future.

Speaking of which, many families have strong deer camp traditions that have continued for generations after they started. Usually, they consist of getting extended family members together each hunting season to camp out in tents, trailers, ice houses, or shacks. Old relations recall details of past hunts, catch up on life, and make plans for the next day’s hunting activities around a fire. And sure, maybe a tall tale is occasionally told. Traditions like this start with simply inviting everyone out during the hunting season to enjoy some family time. It doesn’t take much effort, but they will quickly become one of the longest-lasting and most treasured family memories you’ll have.

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger | Raised Hunting

Also, spending time together hunting means that all parties get a break from today’s technology. Whether we’re referring to our cell phones, work emails, video games, or social media, we all need to unplug once in a while to reduce mental stress and reconnect with nature. There’s no better way to do that than watching the sun come up and hearing the forest come alive within a blind or tree stand with your family nearby. That being said, there are a lot of technological advances that have helped the hunting community tremendously, with scent-eliminating Scent Crusher products, trail cameras, and advanced Nikon optics to name a few. The difference is that these items are being used as part of the overall hunting approach and not to just mindlessly scroll through the latest updates from long-lost high school classmates. When you’re in the woods with the family, especially teenage children, make it a point to lead by example. Focus on teaching a new tracking skill instead of checking for messages on your phone.

Additionally, the hunting tradition is so critical for us to carry on to the next generation because hunter recruitment and retention are serious issues in today’s world. The simple fact is that hunters are some of the world’s best conservationists, spending millions of dollars each year to support wildlife management and habitat conservation work. As the traditional hunting crowd ages, there’s a noticeable lack of younger hunters to fill this void. With fewer hunters buying licenses and specific wildlife stamps/initiatives, there will be fewer dollars to spend on keeping our wildlife populations healthy and balanced. That means our great American tradition could slowly disappear. By getting children involved at a young age and taking your family hunting as often as possible, you can teach them about the critical function they could serve to help continue the tradition.

How to Start a Family Tradition

Hunting traditions could include most activities from the planning stage to actual field adventures. You probably already have a few of these types of family traditions at home, but here are some ways you could start one if not. First, know that just one really fun event can get everyone so engaged and excited that they can’t wait to do it again. Just one fun day in the woods. Maybe they’d like to repeat it tomorrow, next week, in a few months, or next year. It all depends on what the activity is. Here are a few example traditions that you could try out at home with your own family.

Each spring, make it an annual tradition to go shed hunting as a family. It’s a great way to spend a beautiful spring day and burn some energy after a winter off. Make an entire day of it by bringing along a picnic if the weather’s nice enough. You could all take bets on who’s going to find the biggest shed, the most antlers, or the weirdest find. Kids usually love these kinds of competitions. And you might find it pretty fun yourself.

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger | Raised Hunting

One of the most basic family hunting traditions you could start is a family bow practice session with your Bear Archery bows. Pick a designated day of the week from spring through hunting season to all carve out thirty minutes to fling some arrows at targets. You can make it fun and keep your kids’ attention by developing some archery games. Most kids love a little competition, especially if there’s a friendly prize in it for the winner.

If you’re a landowner or lease some property where you can plant food plots as a family, make a tradition to all head out to the farm to get some work done. Get your family involved in the process by letting them choose the seed mix for an experimental plot you rotate every year. If they’re interested, let them help plan new plots with you. And definitely let them help with the work if they’re still excited about it! After your food plots have started growing, you could all head out on a Friday night to glass the fields for bucks. If it’s a longer drive, make sure to bring some snacks to keep everyone happy along the way. Maybe treat them to ice cream on a particularly hot summer day. A little bribery won’t ruin them.

If you’re planning on doing some family hunting trips next year and would like to make it an annual event, gather everyone around the table to plan out the details. Talk about the clothing you’ll need, the route you’ll take, the animals you’ll be hunting, and any other relevant topics. By including the whole family in the discussion, it will help everyone to feel like they’re part of the group. There are lots of family friendly hunting lodges out there that offer family hunting vacation packages. Take advantage of them while you can, because schedules will only get busier over time.

Other Family Hunting Tips

Here are a few other recommendations that would help in your pursuit to build a new tradition. Make sure to take lots of pictures and videos to document your family adventures. There’s nothing quite like looking back at your family’s memories. Think about how special it is to you if you can view pictures of your grandparents and great grandparents doing the same activity from many years prior. It allows you to reflect on what’s changed over time and what’s stayed the same. You might be surprised.

Similarly, you should keep a short journal of your family tradition activities. Just like the pictures, it allows you to recall in vivid detail the outcomes of any specific hunting trip or outdoor adventure. Small, but important, details can easily disappear from our memories within a short period of time. After only a year, you’d be surprised at what you forget. But recording the basic details (e.g., who, what, when, where, etc.) in a notebook or on a computer can allow you to look back on a hunting trip from ten years past and recall the memory without any problems.

Above all, you need to keep things fun while doing all of this. Don’t turn scouting trips into forced marches, and don’t be too critical. If your kids want to rest and do an impromptu snack break, join them! If you can let loose and all enjoy some laughter, you’ll be much more likely to form a lasting event that you can continue throughout your life.

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger | Raised Hunting

Why Do These Traditions Work?

We asked earlier in the article why certain traditions stick, while others simply fade away, doomed to be a one-time event. Let’s expand on that a little more. It’s easy to ignore the importance of family traditions sometimes. Work, school activities, and other events get in the way and we can lose track of time pretty easily. But when you elevate activities into a true family tradition, it takes on a new meaning. It becomes a special time that nobody wants to miss out on. It becomes a special and cherished memory.

The tradition of hunting is a perfect activity for families to do together since it can involve anyone. All you need is some open space and willing family members. By starting these activities while your kids are young, they can develop unique lifelong skills that they’ll appreciate forever. And as we discussed earlier, life will get in the way unless we fight back and carve out some time for tradition. Don’t wait any longer.

Archery Games and Tricks to get Todays Youth Outdoors | Raised Hunting

Archery Games and Tricks to Get Today’s Youth Outdoors

Get Our Youth Outdoors | Swap Video Games for Bow Shooting Games

It’s a simple fact that today’s youth face an extensive addiction to technology. A flood of information washes over them every day, which isn’t necessarily the problem, nor is it always a bad thing. Today’s children can learn some really amazing things that prepare them for the future using this technology. But it’s no surprise that many kids don’t even spend a half hour outside each day when the outdoors has to compete with the latest video games. With summer approaching that needs to change…we need to get our youth outdoors. We can do that by using archery games and bowhunting education to entice our youth outdoors and get them involved as new hunters.

But many people ask why it’s even an issue, and why they should bother taking time to introduce their youth to bow hunting in the first place. The simple answer is that it’s a healthier lifestyle. Youth bow hunting keeps them outside doing physical activities instead of sitting on their rear end watching a screen for hours. Multiple studies have proven that today’s office workers suffer from several physical and mental ailments, including posture problems, hip joint tightening, and eye strain, usually because they sit motionless in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day. Getting your youth outdoors doing physical work will set them up for success.

But beyond that, it’s important to teach your child a real skill that they can use forever. If your family values wild game meat and conservation, your kid will most likely value it someday down the road, if not already. Equipping them with the skills to participate in the conservation process and fill their freezer with fresh and wild protein is something that they’ll appreciate for the rest of their life. So now let’s dive into some archery games that you can use to spend some quality time with your children, while teaching them bowhunting education. 

Archery Games to Replace the Remote Control 

To effectively compete with today’s video games and social media, an activity needs to be engaging and interactive. While teaching them these archery games, you need to show your enthusiasm and make it as fun as possible, while still teaching respect for the weapon. Bow safety needs to trump entertainment, but there are ways to incorporate the fun too. Getting the whole family involved and dedicating time for practice and competition is one way to accomplish that. Another way to introduce and keep your youth outdoors is to register your child for an upcoming Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) youth hunting camp. Outdoor youth programs like RAFD allow them to practice their archery while being surrounded by their peers in a friendly environment. Through outdoor team building games and applied practice, youth participants learn quickly and have a lot of fun.

Archery Games and Tricks to get Todays Youth Outdoors | Raised Hunting

3D Archery Games

One of the easiest ways to get kids engaged in outdoor archery shooting games is to let them shoot at ultra-realistic 3D targets. They are available in so many forms, from elk to bear, and even include dinosaurs or aliens. If it will keep your kid engaged and wanting to practice more, try to cross the video game barrier by investing in some fun targets. Video games help kids use their imagination by letting them experience a different reality. After a day of shooting Delta McKenzie big game animal targets or aliens at 3D bow shoots, they’ll definitely be more likely to continue instead of reaching for the game console controller. If you don’t want to buy targets yourself or don’t have the space to shoot at them, bring the family along to 3D archery courses, which you can find at an increasing number of places these days. These ranges usually have some amazing targets and are an easy way to have fun with your kids. If they’re just starting out, you may want to go on an off-day so there’s not as much of a crowd.

Tic-Tac-Toe

Another fun archery game is a twist on the pen-and-paper version. Simply tape a piece of cardboard or paper to a target and draw nine squares (three high by three wide). Take turns with your child (or have your kids take turns) shooting Gold Tip arrows at the board. They should have different colored fletching to make things simpler. When an archer hits within a square, they have claimed that square, and the objective is to get three squares in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). If someone shoots into a claimed square, they should shoot again until they claim a new one. Archery shooting games like these take an outdated game like this and turn it into something fun again. They also challenge your accuracy when you have to pick a single square.

Archery Games and Tricks to get Todays Youth Outdoors | Raised Hunting

Balloons

As far as archery games go, this is one of the simplest. Blow up several balloons (aim for 5 to 10 per player) and tape them to a target or similar backdrop. You can either do time trials individually or a live shootout. For time trials, each player takes their turn shooting their Bear Archery youth bows. The goal is to shoot all of their balloons in the shortest amount of time. This game can be done with competition or against yourself. The player with the shortest time wins that round. You can also do a live shootout, where each player has their own balloons on their own target, and the first player to shoot all of their balloons wins. Balloons are cheap, so this is a very simple option. 

H.O.R.S.E.

You’ve likely played this game before, but on the basketball court, not at an archery range. The concept is the same. Each player should take turns, with the first player of the round determining the type of shot that everyone must complete to continue. For example, one player might decide that everyone needs to shoot at 30 yards, with the target quartering away. If the players don’t put an arrow in the circle or vitals, they earn the first letter ‘H’ and continue in this fashion until they have spelled “HORSE.” At that point, they lose the game. This is a great game to play at a 3D archery range since there are multiple types of targets and different shot opportunities.

Robin Hood

The next game can be called whatever you want, but the idea is to challenge a shooter’s distance ability. Start at 10 to 15 yards from a target, and take turns shooting. Everybody who keeps their arrow in the designated zone can proceed to the next distance. Move out away from the target in 5-yard increments. Whoever stays in the competition the longest is the winner. This is a useful skill if carried out over time because it extends your maximum effective distance under pressure, which is critical for hunting. For that reason, it’s really one of those outdoor games for all ages.

Archery Games and Tricks to get Todays Youth Outdoors | Raised Hunting

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to turn routine archery practice into fun archery games without much work. The most important thing is to stay excited about and involved in the games with your kids so that you can all challenge each other. A family that shoots bows together stays together, or something along those lines, the lasting importance here is getting and keeping our youth outdoors!

Why Youth Hunting is so Critical Today

Why Youth Hunting is So Critical Today

Bowhunting Education | How Youth Bow Hunting Can Make Lifelong Hunters

Surely you’re familiar with the popular idiom, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Here’s a surprising fact for some: this isn’t just about crappie tactics. It’s really about the value of teaching over just doing for someone else, which is especially true for youth hunting. Most of the time with children, it’s just easier to do something for them (e.g., tie their shoes, answer their math question, etc.) instead of teaching them how to do it themselves. But they’ll never learn and will always depend on you for that task. As parents, it’s critical that we equip our kids with the knowledge and skills to grow up and do things on their own.

This is an extremely important lesson for youth hunting. Sure, we could always feed our kids venison. But that’s cheating them of the amazing experiences that the autumn woods hold for archery fanatics. Bow hunting doesn’t just teach us about the natural world, the resilient wildlife species that inhabit it, and food awareness. It also teaches us virtues like patience, respect, ethics, confidence, responsibility, and emotional control. It doesn’t take much imagination to agree that more children would be better off as adults with these traits.

But on a larger scale, hunter recruitment and retention is extremely important for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Hunters are consistently at the forefront of wildlife conservation and habitat restoration efforts. As hunter numbers decline, so too does the funding and interest in these causes. Introducing children to the sport is the cure-all solution. Here are some tips and techniques to help introduce your child, relative, or family friend to youth hunting.

Awareness in the Early Stages

One of the first and most necessary things you should do is to get your youth interested and excited about hunting. This is fairly easy to do as most young kids are fairly interested in wildlife and nature already, but some will take to it slower than others. Have them watch your favorite bow hunting programs, such as Raised Hunting. Take them on walks in the woods or farm to explore new things. In the late winter and spring, take them with to go scouting and shed hunting. Teach them why deer rub trees and shed their antlers, and make it feel like a scavenger hunt. If they get tired or bored, accept that their attention spans will be shorter and be willing to leave early.

Try sitting in a blind with them where they can get away with some fidgeting and movement without spooking wildlife. Hopefully they can watch turkeys and deer at close range and feel the excitement that goes with it. Also show them the animals you harvest with your bow, so they can get an up-close view of the animal they are chasing. Make your excitement contagious when you’re showing them so that they can feel the same way.

This stage needs to focus on keeping things fun for them. You don’t want it to become a forced march for them against their will. If they have to hike long distances and get yelled at for goofing off, they may not be so inclined to go out again. The biggest thing you can do to help is just trying to have fun while you’re outdoors with them. Try not to be as rigid as you usually are while archery hunting on your own, be willing to laugh and joke with them, and don’t scold them unless it’s a dangerous behavior. The fun memories are ultimately what will get them to come back to try it again.

Time to Pick Up the Bow

If they seem interested in being outdoors and hunting in general, the next step is to get them their own youth hunting gear and a bow to practice with. Start young kids (i.e., 5 to 10 years old) off with a small compound bow that’s easy to pull back, such as the Bear Archery Scout compound bow for kids. Also be sure to grab some Gold Tip Falcon 35 Arrows, and a Tru-Fire Junior Release. You can even use round-tipped play arrows for a while. They can practice with these to grasp the basic concepts and safety considerations until they are able to use a youth compound bow. Most states allow youth hunting with a bow at ages 10 to 12, provided a licensed hunter accompanies them.

You can find youth compound bows for sale at almost any sporting goods store, like SCHEELS, near you or bear compound bows for kids through Bear Archery. Either way, they can help you find one that fits your child well. Like any hunting gear for kids, it’s tricky business because you don’t want to get one that’s too large for them, but don’t want to buy a new bow every couple years as they grow. Try to find a happy middle ground between these two approaches. Regarding the size, a proper bow shop can match a bow to your child’s frame, and determine the best draw weight. Start small at first (i.e. generally around 15-20 pounds), but allow them to work up the strength as their form improves. If you start too heavy, your youth may pick up some bad habits that will need correcting down the road. They won’t enjoy practicing and it could even discourage them from continuing to hunt.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once they’ve got good youth bows to fit them, you need to make sure they practice. As with any skill, the more they practice, the better they’ll get. The same is true for youth hunting. But as in the first step above, you need to keep it fun for them. In other words, don’t tell them they “need to practice 20 arrows a day or you’ll never be good enough to shoot a whitetail.” Hopefully that’s common sense, but it needs to be stated. Instead of that approach, get them interested in practicing on their own by setting up a small 3D target range in your back yard or taking them with to an archery range. When they get to shoot at anything from whitetails to dinosaurs to aliens, you can bet they’ll stay interested. Even for adult bow hunters, it’s nice to have some variety! Get them comfortable shooting from ground level before moving to an elevated position.

Raised At Full Draw Camps
(video)- Raised At Full Draw Camps, educates and involves the youth in the outdoors. These camps are to save the heritage of hunting and to pass it on to the next generation

 

If they seem really interested, you may want to send them to youth summer camps to learn some more archery skills, practice with peers, and just generally have a fun time. The Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) bow hunting camp exists to help youth learn archery and hunting techniques through hands-on outdoor education activities in a fun camp style of learning. It follows the curriculum of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) book, and ultimately does lead to bowhunting education certification.

Another nice way to keep them practicing is to start a weekly family bow hunting practice session, where the whole family gets to work on their shooting skills. A family that bow hunts together stays together. Or at least that’s what they say, right? Keep it interesting by playing different archery games and challenging each other in friendly competitions. For example, the best shot of the week gets to choose a fun meal for the family. Or perhaps they get out of doing dishes or mowing the lawn that week.

Why Youth Hunting is so Critical Today

Take Your Youth Hunting

If they’ve practiced like we discuss above, they should be ready for youth bow hunting in a real situation soon. You’ll have to make that call based on the accuracy, consistency, and dedication of your youth. It’s usually required to sit with them during the youth hunting season the first couple times in a blind or tree stand, so you can advise them in a pinch and observe how safe they act in the tree stand. Set them up with a Rage broadhead to ensure their quarry won’t go far.

If you feel like they are acting safely and responsibly, and could ethically make a good shot, you may decide to let them hunt on their own the next year. This can be a nerve-racking decision, but you have to let them “fish” on their own at some point.

Congratulations! You helped create a potentially lifelong bow hunter, who will likely teach their kids and others someday, thus ensuring the future of our cherished sport. And if we all introduce at least one child to the tradition of hunting, our future looks brighter than ever.

Hunters Are Teachers | Raised Hunting

Why Hunters Are Some Of The Best And Most Essential Teachers

Passing on the Tradition of the Outdoors | The Importance of Youth Hunting

When it comes to conserving, restoring and enhancing our countries natural resources, hunters have lead the way in supporting initiatives that helped keep our woods and waters full of game. The sport of hunting has a long history in the United States, and while the roots of hunting run deep, the numbers of hunters that make it to the woods or to the polls continue to drop each and every year. The hunting heritage has helped shape the lives of men and women all over the country, and today more than every hunters need to ensure that they take the time to expose the next generation to the joy and wonder of the outdoors.

The Importance of the Hunting Legacy

Not too long ago the topic of hunting would have never been considered a controversial one. In rural America especially, you wouldn’t have to look too far to find someone who hunted. The tradition of hunting and the outdoors was something that almost every youth would have the opportunity to be exposed to in some shape or form. Being outside helped connect young adults to the importance of nature, and develop an appreciation of wild places and wild things. Whether it was pitching a tent on a camping trip, or chasing down rabbits and quail, the outdoors inspired youth and helped to keep their imagination vibrant. Just being in the outdoors as a child can have almost the same impact as watching a magician or something of that sort, the feeling that there is still a part of this world unexplored, wild and untamed is a very magical feeling that every child should have the opportunity to experience.

For many of the uninformed, who have not had the ability to experience nature through the sport of hunting, feelings may sway to the opinion that all the hunters do is grab their Bear Bow with a Quiver full of Gold Tip Arrows and head off in search of game… Anyone who hunts, and the history books could argue this point. The sport of hunting provides an opportunity to teach young men and women many life skills that they will use for the rest of their life. Hunting teaches responsibility, trust, honesty, and respect. Hunting provides an excellent opportunity to teach and refine work ethic, as well as persistence and patients. It is probably a safe assumption that hunting has helped shape the lives of many across this great Nation.

If you take the time to think back, one to two key individuals will appear in your mind. These individuals were responsible for exposing you to the sport of hunting. Perhaps it was your father, mother, grandfather, uncle or possibly and a neighbor from down the road? The fact remains that someone in your life took the time to expose you as a youth hunter to the joys and wonders of the outdoors. When it comes to recruiting a young hunter, you can be certain it is for life, this one facet alone is critical. The percentage of hunter recruitment drops off steadily the older the hunter is to the point in which it is almost impossible to recruit a new hunter once they reach adulthood.

In today’s world of electronic entertainment and instant satisfaction, youth hunter recruitment is declining in most states. It may come to your surprise that it only takes one generational gap to go from a family of hunters to a family of non-hunters. While the tradition of the sport hunting is still strong across the country, it is more important than ever that hunters do their part to take time to expose today’s youth to the outdoors and the sport of hunting.

What is at Stake?

The opportunities and success that we enjoy as hunters can be traced back to the fact that hunters as a group are the largest group of conservationists in the country. Thanks largely in part to hunters standing together and speaking out, we have millions of acres of public land across the country that is available to us, with abundant game species for hunters to pursue. We have tax funding that finds its way back to the states that enable them to purchase and manage lands for fish and game and other non-game species. Thanks to the support of the hunter, we enjoy clean water and clean air. Lost on many that look at hunting as a negative, this sport has helped make our country better environmentally in many ways.

As the number of youth hunters recruited each and every year declines, so does the number of voices as the table when the time comes to rally around a cause such as the environment. So does the number of supporters of pro-hunting legislation. Most importantly, so does the number of youth that have the opportunity to develop an understanding an appreciation for the legacy and sport of hunting and what it truly means to be a hunter. That it’s not about the harvest of the animal, it’s about being and nature and appreciation the wild things that still remain in our world. Hunter recruitment is critical to securing the future of the sport and its legacy. As hunters we all have a responsibility to ensure we do our part to expose a youth to the outdoors whenever we have the chance.

Connecting Youth with Nature

Connecting a young hunter to the sport of hunting is very significant and there are many different ways to begin the process. Whether it is using Scent Crusher and twisting on a Rage broadhead in search of a big white-tail, or picking up a pair of Nikons to watch spot game on the mountain slopes, it is important to help develop the appreciation for nature in today’s youth that will last a lifetime.

If there is one tip or “trick” to help make this process more long lasting, it is simply to make it fun. Whether it is bringing along coloring books while they sit in the deer blind, a few extra snacks to munch on the trail, in the stand, or in the duck blind, it is vital to make sure they truly enjoy themselves. Remember that the successful harvesting of an animal is only the icing on the cake; it is about spending time in nature and sparking their interest and curiosity. They have to want to go, before they will want to truly participate in the sport. You don’t want to force the issue, just simply make it a fun experience. If you do that the rest will take care of itself.

Opportunities are Everywhere

Fortunately for youth hunters there are many different opportunities available for them to enjoy. Whether it is simply grabbing a can of worms and setting around a farm pond, or chasing small game like rabbits and squirrels, to simply taking a hike or camping trip, every state offers a wide range of opportunities to choose from. There are also several programs and camps available in the hunting community. Raised at Full Draw (Bowhunting Camps) is such a camp. It is a non-profit organization designed to promote archery, hunting and outdoor education.  The goal of these camps is to pass knowledge and techniques on to the next generation, and allow them an opportunity to learn in a safe hands on environment.  An environment where they get to practice immediately the skills they are being taught.  In addition, there will be a focus on how to hunt responsibly, effectively and learn all of the other attributes of ethics morals and values they come along with spending time outdoors. We want the kids to exit camp as skilled archers, but more importantly we want them to leave with an appreciation for hunting and the outdoors as a whole.

Hunters Are Some Of The Best And Most Essential Teachers | Raised Hunting

As hunters, it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to hunt themselves let alone take someone new. In today’s competitive world of hunting, some hunters may even find that taking youth hunting is a hindrance that they would rather not bare. While this is unfortunate, the former is something that many states have taken into consideration. As a result, many states offer youth hunting seasons for many different game species such as waterfowl, deer, and turkey that occur prior to the “official” opening day. These youth seasons provide youth hunters the opportunity to chase game that have yet to feel the pressure of the full force hunting season. These youth season provides the opportunity to avoid conflict with hunters that do not want to sacrifice time in the woods themselves.

No matter where you look there are opportunities to expose a youth to the outdoors through many different sports like hunting. As hunters, conservationist and sportsmen it is our responsibility to ensure that the legacy and tradition of hunting in North America stays strong with the next generation. If we don’t teach it to them, who will? If the next generation doesn’t understand what hunting really means, how will they articulate it to the generation after them? The short answer is that they will not, and the wild things that make this country so great will inevitably suffer.

Hunting means many things to many different people, from spending time in the outdoors with friends and family to finding solace in being alone in nature. However, it all started with that very first trip afield, so many memories made that all started with one. Be sure to do your part instill those same values and provide those same opportunities in a youth hunter this year!