Have you introduced your kids to hunting?
Are you not sure how or when to get your kids involved in hunting? We weren't sure either at first, but knew that we wanted to introduce our daughter, Lindsey Jo, at an early age and take her with us as soon as possible. Here are a few tips and what we've done so far with our now almost 2 year old baby girl. We aren't experts by any means, but thought it would be fun to share what has worked for us. It isn't always easy, but the extra effort is worth it!
TALK ABOUT IT!
Leading up to our hunting trips, I made sure to talk to Lindsey about all the animals we would see and what we are going to do outside. Granted, she was only 15 months old when we took our first big hunting trip, but I think it did really help to get her excited when I told her what we were about to do. Plus I let her help me clean and pack the camper. By the time we set up our home on the mountain, she was used to the camper and excited about living in it for a couple weeks.
BRING THEM WITH YOU!
When we found out that we were pregnant almost 3 years ago, Troy and I knew that our hunting lifestyle was about to change, but we also knew that it didn't mean we would stop hunting. We spend the majority of September hunting elk in Colorado, so what was this going to look like now with a baby / toddler?
It was a lot of working planning and preparing to take along a one-year old on a hunting trip, but trust me, I'm glad we did it. Take your kids with you if you can! Here is what we did to make it possible...
MAKE IT FUN!
Whether you are just bringing kids to hunting camp or letting them actually go on a hunt with you, remember to keep it FUN! Young kiddos have short attention spans, so be prepared with fun activities to keep them occupied. This may be simple things such as "washing" rocks, making daisy chains, catching grasshoppers, drawing in the dirt with a stick, etc., or just sit back, watch them explore the outdoors (within your vantage point) and let their imaginations soar! Lindsey and I took many walks around camp just exploring, which was one of my favorite memories from last September.
If you are actually taking a young kiddo on a hunt, remember to adjust your expectations of the hunt to match your child's age. Asking a 2 year old to remain quiet for an hour, much less 5 minutes may be asking too much. WAY. TOO. MUCH. We are hoping to take Lindsey turkey hunting this Spring... we may not even see a turkey, much less shoot one, but we know that. It is all about the experience.
LET THEM SEE IT!
I wasn't sure how Lindsey would react when the first deer was brought back to camp last fall, but I wasn't going to shield it from her. I want her to understand the whole process, within reason of course. So when everyone was gathered around the truck admiring a buck that someone in our group shot, you can guarantee that Lindsey was there also.
She then became very curious about the deer hanging in the shed. I watched closely to see how she would react, since she didn't shy away from it, I allowed her to watch the skinning process. As appropriate, Troy and I will continue to explain the process so she understands where her meat comes from. At this young age, I don't think she needs to see the entire process from killing, gutting, skinning and preparing the meat. However, we will slowly introduce this to her, involving her in the process as she gets older and expresses interest. I am hopeful that she too will love and appreciate all that is involved with hunting.
What about YOU? We want to know when and how you introduced your kids to hunting. Do you have any tips or advice to share? What has or hasn't worked for you?
From the Draw
We are devoted to sharing our bowhunting stories. We have a passion for passing on our hunting heritage to our kids. From the draw in the mountains to the draw on paper, the moments live on.