Take the Family Hunting this Holiday Season

Family Hunting Over the Holidays

The holidays are devoted to family time. It is the one time of the year to catch up with distant relatives, share stories of the past hunting season with close family members and look towards a new year of success outdoors and within our personal lives. All those being true, it is also a great time to enjoy some family hunting.

Hunting during the holidays is not for everyone. The weather is terrible (think snow, wind chills and early darkness) and not to mention those animals that are still out there are the best of the best. Only the most mature bucks, strongest birds and fastest small mammals have made it through lengthy hunting seasons to this point. Any game left is crafty and elusive so hunting this time of year will not come easy.

Family hunting around the holidays makes perfect sense, though. Kids are off from school for an extended period and usually you also have a few days off surrounding Christmas and New Years. This presents more opportunities for families to get outdoors for some quality time hunting. There is often no better place for life lessons than the freezing duck blind, snowy pheasant field or oak flat searching out winter squirrels. Hunting with kids is not only about harvesting an animal but more related to the skills and facilitation of conversation that hunting opens up. Also, hunting is not the only outdoor activity to take part in over the holidays. Holiday break can be a great time to also introduce kids to shooting. Whether it is in the backyard with a new Bear Archery bow or time at the shooting range plinking with .22s, both give you that chance to connect with your kids outdoors.

Hunting during the holidays is also a tradition for many families. As we grow up and start our own lives, hunting is a way to reconnect with siblings and extended family members over the holidays. Instead of sitting around eating meal after meal for days, plan a hunt with family. This will get you outdoors and back among family enjoying the sport of hunting you grew up with. Family holiday hunting can either be scheduled at a hunting club or outfitter or it can be simply a preplanned time to get a few family members to head out to the local public grounds for a half day small game hunt. Either way, family hunting over the holidays enables a reconnection with the past, the ability to relive hunting experiences and an opportunity to start your kids hunting among family.

Family Hunting Options for the Holidays

For those looking to plan some hunting during the holidays, there are numerous opportunities depending on where you are located. Most states have small game seasons open throughout the winter. Also, select deer seasons come back in around the holidays such as late-season archery and traditional muzzleloader. If nothing else, game farms and hunting preserves usually have family hunting opportunities. The upside is that most hunting opportunities available over the holidays are better suited for a family. For instance, deer hunting is often solitary. You may hunt the same general area with your kids or friends but usually, it is you by yourself in a tree stand for hours. Hunting waterfowl, small game or upland birds, all of which are typically in season around Christmas, aligns more with group family hunting trips. These types of hunts are fun and shareable with friends and family.


Tips for Balancing Hunting During the Holidays

Even though the holidays are a joyous time of year, they are jammed packed with dinners, visits, and other family related activities. Do not worry, however, there are ways to accomplish it all and take part in some family holiday hunting. With some planning and a little compromising, you can find ways to get outdoors over the holidays. Here are five tips on how to balance the holidays with family hunting.

  1. Schedule It

    . With hunting, you know what is in season this time of year so there are no excuses not to schedule a time to hunt well in advance. Marking your calendar early ensures you schedule time for family hunting trips but it also allows the rest of your family to plan the remaining holiday season.

  1. Preplan

    . Preplanning is similar to scheduling, except once you have hunting scheduled during the holidays you need to plan all that goes into it. If you plan ahead of time, you will not have to spend precious time away from family around Christmas and New Year’s searching Scheels for winter Under Armour clothing or other last minute gear you may need for winter hunting.

  1. Communicate

    . The most important tip for balancing hunting during the holidays is communicating with your family about your schedule and plans. Communicate your intentions for the holidays (days you will be gone, when you will be available, etc.) but also remember to stay in touch with family while you are away. Your holiday household will be much healthier if everyone is on the same page regarding the holiday schedule.

  1. Experiences Matter Most

    . Family hunting comes down to spending quality time outdoors with your kids and other family members. Plan hunts that are ones where all your family can get involved and enjoy. Great experiences outdoors will lead to a family holiday hunting tradition shared year after year.

  1. Compromise

    . As the years go by, life changes. We grow up, have families and change priorities. It is important to compromise over the holidays. Years ago you may have spent all your time off around Christmas hunting. However, you may now have to narrow that down to a few days. By compromising between hunting and non-hunting activities over the holidays, you will have a complete and enjoyable holiday season.

The holiday season brings with it traditions and time spent with family that is unique to this time of year. Family hunting is one of those traditions that provides an opportunity to bring together different generations outdoors. Make the most of this holiday season by spending time with you kids hunting and enjoying time with family and friends outdoors.

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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.

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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.

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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 (
  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.

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger | Raised Hunting

How Family Hunting Traditions Make You Stronger

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.

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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 slammer products, stealth cams, and advanced vanguard 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.

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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.

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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.