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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.