One of the best things of having hunting as a hobby—or even your job—is that it’s something you can share with your family. Your time out in nature can produce some of the best memories your loved ones will take into the future.
But hunting is, of course, not the safest scenario. How can you ensure your kids, family members and friends who are new to the sport aren’t placed at risk?
We summarized a few important guidelines and tips. Use it as a checklist to help you create safer trips for your family.
- Age Matters
- Get Proper Gear and Clothing
- Manage Hunters’ Mindsets
- Are They Educated?
- Is family hunting a valuable tradition?
- Start a family hunting tradition today. Here’s how!
For starters, not all children are allowed to participate on all hunting grounds. States differ in their legislation. Some have age restrictions, so it’s best you keep to these guidelines and not try to sidestep them.
You should also keep the participants’ ages in mind when you plan your days. How often will you have to stop for bathroom breaks? Can everyone walk the entire distance you plan on traveling?
Your schedule must cater for younger and older abilities. If hunters start to feel tired, uncomfortable or irritable they may stop paying attention to all the safety guidelines and cause an accident.
Get Proper Gear and Clothing
You can ensure some level of comfort by ensuring each person has the right gear and clothing. Clothing that is specifically designed for outside adventures will keep hunters warm when it’s cold and allow for easy movement so fatigue doesn’t set in too quickly.
You can’t expect young hunters to carry the same gear as adults. Guns and hunting equipment must be appropriate for their skills and be light enough to carry.
Manage Hunters’ Mindsets
Also, realize that kids may not be ready to shoot the first time they go out on the hunt. Allow them to choose when to shoot and support them if they feel sad about killing an animal.
You can see that many of our tips are to create a comfortable, enjoyable and dynamic experience. Why? Because you want your family to stay positive about the trip. If they feel demotivated they may not stay diligent in keeping safety rules.
A wise approach is to make the trip about enjoying nature, rather than killing an animal. If no one ends up shooting an animal they won’t feel it was time wasted. They’ll stay positive throughout.
Children also have a need to feel safe. By showing them that there are safety guidelines they’ll be more at ease and enjoy the hunt.
Are They Educated?
Important note: the responsibility to create a safe environment rests on everyone’s shoulders. You’ll need to monitor whether everyone is keeping to the rules, but they need the information to align with your expectations.
The best option is that everyone completes a hunter’s education class. They’ll be empowered to practice safe hunting.
Note: for hunters between 12 and 15 years of age these classes are mandatory.
Hunting trips with your family can be how you build strong bonds between each other. But that only happens when you have positive experiences. Otherwise, they may never want to join you in your sport again.
Ensure their enjoyment, keep them safe and make memories!
Is family hunting a valuable tradition?
Should you sit on the fence about whether you should start a family hunting tradition or not, we want to give you some valid reasons for giving it a try.
You become part of a community
When you go hunting with your family, you spend time with like-minded people, creating a community of belonging and trust—it’s something valuable for children to feel. Your children will feel the guidance and support you give them when hunting. For you as a parent, it’s another way to spend quality time with your children.
Before you know it, the toddlers in front of you will become responsible adults. As you get older, you will share one common passion: hunting.
You can start a tradition for many generations to come
Many families have strong hunting traditions that have continued for decades. With these traditions, extended family members get together for hunting and camp out in trailers, tents, shacks, or ice houses. Old members share their memories of past hunts and make plans for the next day’s hunting adventure. A tall tale gets heard around the campfire at night and family members connect on a deeper level.
You don’t need to make a pompous invitation. Sometimes, you only need to tell your extended family about your next hunting trip. As long as you plan well ahead, you should be able to begin and continue a deep and long-lasting tradition with unforgettable memories for everyone.
You take a break from modern technology
When you go hunting, you won’t have to check out social media, read the newspaper online, have a small talk with a friend, post photos, etc. Whether it is the work emailing, cell phones, social media, or video games that you like to use the most, we all need a break from it every once in a while. Reconnecting with nature has essential value for our mental and physical health. Nothing compares with an early start in the morning in the middle of the woods or watching beautiful sunset after a long day of hunting. Luckily for us, many products can help you enjoy your hunting experience to the fullest. Many devices increase your chance of success, from stealth cams, scent-free products, and complex vanguard optics.
Even if we still talk about modern technology, we talk about devices that actually help you do something productive. You won’t lose time scrolling down on your Facebook page but look for deer to get a shot. Since our children look up to us, you should take advantage of the hunting and lead by example. Turn off your phone and use your GPS device to get directions. Or, better yet, use the compass to see where you need to go. Now it’s the perfect time to teach your kids how to use a compass.
Hunting tradition shouldn’t die
The hunting tradition is essential for us humans and we need to pass it on to the next generation. Hunter recruitment and retention are critical problems in our world. We want to remind you that hunters represent some of the best conservationists and we spend millions of dollars every year to sustain habitat conservation projects and wildlife management. It’s natural that traditional hunters age, but there aren’t many young hunters coming from behind. If the number of hunters buying licenses and wildlife initiatives/stamps decreases, the money to keep wildlife populations balanced and healthy slowly disappears. We need to involve young generations and introduce them to hunters as often as possible. You don’t need to take your 4-year old hunting, but you can teach him about the role of hunting for our humanity.
Start a family hunting tradition today. Here’s how!
You only need time, energy, and patience to begin and grow a family hunting tradition. The best part about hunting is that it’s a complex activity, so there are many things that your children can do to be part of it. From planning the hunting to pitching the tent, there are so many tasks that kids will gladly manage with hunting. If you don’t know how to begin, our suggestions will come in handy:
Make it a fun experience
If you already have some family traditions, use the experiences to start the family hunting tradition. When you are optimistic and excited about your new adventure, your children will pick up your vibe and feel the same way.
Start with a spring tradition
For instance, you can go to shed hunting as a family every spring. It’s an excellent way to spend a lovely spring day and burn some energy after a long cold winter. If the weather is warm and sunny, you should go for a whole day and have a picnic there. Have some contests in mind to make it a bit more exciting. Challenge your family to find the weirdest thing, the most oversized shed, or the most antlers. Mostly young children like these sorts of games, but your teenagers may be up for the challenge too! We’re confident that it will also be fun for you as adults.
A bow practice session
Another tremendous essential family hunting tradition is to fling some arrows at targets. You can have it the same day of the week, from spring through hunting season. Create fun archery games for your kids. They will be more than excited to play, especially if there’s a fun reward at the end.
Plant food plots
If you can lease a property or own some land, it’s good to plant food plots as a family. Let your family members select the seed mix for a plot that you can rotate every year. You can also create new plots with them and involve every family member in the project. Once all the food plots have started to grow, you can go on a Saturday night and glass the fields for deer. If you need to drive for many hours, pack some snacks so that nobody gets hungry and cranky because of it.
Do the planning together
If you want to plan a family hunting trip every year, you should call all your family members and go through the details. Decide on the clothing, route, game animals, and everything necessary for a successful hunting trip. When everyone is involved and has an opinion about the whole planning, they feel part of the group.
Look for hunting lodges made for families that sell family hunting vacation packages. You will not be the only one interested in such a vacation, so make your reservation as soon as you agree on a destination.