6 Summer Hunting Chores for Getting Kids Involved in Hunting

Ways for Getting Kids Involved in Hunting Over the Summer

Hunting doesn’t stop at the end of the season. In fact, most of the time, the work you put into hunting occurs during the offseason. Summer is a prime example. There are many hunting chores that need to be done over summer that also serve as opportunities for getting kids involved in hunting. The amount of work over the summer is amplified if you’re lucky enough to be hunting with kids this upcoming season. Summer hunting chores such as preparing your tree stands, creating better shooting lanes and improving habitat quality are all exemplified when acting as a youth hunting mentor.

Getting kids involved in hunting takes a lot of work. The key is starting early with youth hunters and incorporating them as much as possible in any and all hunting activities. The more you take them with you and get them involved the more chances they’ll see game and build a lifelong love for the outdoors. No better time for keeping the interest of youth hunters than summer. There are numerous tasks that need to be done over summer in preparation for deer season, but these six summer hunting chores are ideal for increasing the youth hunting experience.

Summer Hunting Chores Perfect for Involving Kids

1. Sight in your gun and/or bow
2. Deploy and monitor trail cameras
3. Conduct tree stand maintenance
4. Implement a summer deer feeding program
5. Start preseason scouting for hunting season
6. Organize and inventory hunting gear

Sighting in Your Gun and/or Bow

Summer is a great time for sighting in your gun or bow. Depending on how last season transpired, you may have added a new scope or sight or possibly even be in the market for purchasing a new gun. Take kids with you to the shooting range and teach them range etiquette and firearms safety. It’s a great time to also teach kids to shoot. Start with a small caliber like a .22 rifle or a youth bow from Bear Archery. Don’t rush this process but teach them and help them learn so they are ready to hunt or hunt more effectively this season.

Deploying and Monitoring Trail Cameras

Summer trail camera strategies provide a wealth of information. Using trail cameras in the summer also provides a great opportunity for getting kids involved in hunting. Part of the youth hunting experience is learning all aspects of the sport. With trail camera maintenance, they’ll learn why using a game camera is important, how to properly hang and check a camera and get to observe plenty of deer and other game when it is time to look at the results. Plus, a second-hand makes for quick work with this summer hunting chore.

Conducting Tree Stand Maintenance

Tree stand maintenance includes both permanent and portable tree stands. The most important part of tree stand maintenance is safety. You want to check items such as degraded straps, rusty bolts, faulty cables or anything else on your tree stands that have the potential of failing while you are hunting this season. Also, summer is a good time to learn the ins and outs of a new tree stand or add accessories to existing tree stands. As a youth hunting mentor, your first priority is safety which is why this summer hunting chore is so critical. Emphasize this when hunting with kids and even incorporate them into these maintenance activities. They can help replace straps and check stands for signs of wear. In addition, now is the time to teach them how to properly use a tree stand and show them how you and your kids will be hunting out them in the fall.

Implementing a Summer Deer Feeding Program

A summer deer feeding program implemented correctly is time-consuming. The more help you have the better and in turn the more successful it will be. Food plots will not only provide critical forage for summer deer, but they also make for great youth hunting opportunities come fall. Besides food plots, a good summer feeding program will use mineral stations. These may be used in conjunction with your trail camera surveys or simply on their own. Either way, they will need regularly checked and resupplied.

Starting Preseason Scouting Now

Scouting can and should be a year-round activity. Remember, however, that summer deer patterns are not the same as fall. Deer in summer are more predictable and make for easier observation. Not hugely valuable come fall but an ideal scenario for getting kids involved in hunting. This builds excitement for the kids but also keeps you in the woods making notes of how deer are developing and utilizing a property. Glass and observe from afar then again you want to be close enough for your kids to get a view. Work on sitting quietly and staying still as practice for hunting season.

Organize and Inventory Hunting Gear

Fall hunting season always sneaks up on us. It is a good summer chore to get your hunting gear organized and inventoried now. Starting now gives you plenty of time to replace any items you have used over the past season and also purchase any new hunting gear you may need. Don’t forget to check your youth hunting gear also. More than likely youth hunting clothing from last year isn’t going to fit this year as fast as they grow so you will have to prepare for that. If you’re thinking about how to get kids into hunting this season, what gear might you need to have in addition to your own? All things to consider when organizing and inventorying your hunting gear over summer.

Impacts of Getting Kids Involved in Hunting Chores During Summer

Kids are a sponge for learning. That is why the impact of getting them involved in hunting chores over summer is so important. Cultivating the outdoors from a young age instills that passion for it for a lifetime. Some of the best and most remembered memories as kids are the ones where you are checking mineral stations or sitting on the tractor tending a food plot. Youth hunters are born and future hunters are educated through these undertakings.

Youth hunting opportunities start with getting kids involved early and often with all aspects of hunting. These six summer hunting chores are some of many ways for getting kids involved in hunting. Include your kids in all aspects of hunting, including the many chores needed each year for making a successful hunting season.

Preparing Youth Hunters for Their First Turkey Hunt

Preparing a Youth Hunter for a First Time Turkey Hunt

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

Youth Hunting Safety

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

Preparing Youth Hunters for the Shot

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

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

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

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

What to Plan for and Expect

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

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

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

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

Hunting Gear and Items to Bring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

oppurtunities challenges with youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Opportunities and Challenges with Youth Hunting

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

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

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

3 Tips for Getting Kids Involved in Hunting

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

Start Youth Hunting Early?

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

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

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

First Impressions Matter

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

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

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

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

Equipping Youth Hunters Properly

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

oppurtunities challenges with youth hunting | Raised Hunting

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

6 Youth Hunting Mistakes to Avoid?

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

Unrealistic Expectations

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

Not Focusing on Fun

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

Missing Youth Hunting Opportunities

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

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

Forgetting Safety First

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

Hunting in Extreme Weather

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

Overly Controlling the Hunt

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

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

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