Having two kids of my own, I have had the joy of getting them geared up for whatever game they plan on chasing. One thing that I have found is to make sure they have the right equipment, which can really make a hunting trip an enjoyable experience, or can push them towards the couch, in front of the TV.
This last fall I had a truly enjoyable experience, having my 14-year-old son, Kolby, harvest his first big game animal. Once he drew the tag, the fun began. Although Kolby had a few turkeys under his belt, had killed some ducks and geese, and an occasional prairie dog, this was a big move in his hunting career. With dear old dad being a predominant archery hunter and Kolby’s first tag being a gun tag, we had to do some research.
Choose the right weapon and ammunition for the species you are hunting. Whatever equipment you choose, make sure that your first-timer spends plenty of time practicing with this equipment. For Kolby’s hunt, I was fortunate enough to have my nephew, Blake, tag along while getting his rifle dialed in. As a parent, this was huge, because I have found that kids have a tendency to relate to other kids. I feel this expedited the learning curve for help to come from a kid’s point of view.
If it happens to be archery equipment, be careful on the hand-me-downs. I’ve seen numerous times where a youngster gets a hold of a hand-me-down bow and it is too long for them, and they then create bad shooting habits. Just because they can pull the bow back, does not mean they can shoot it correctly.
Make sure you have the proper clothing that fits. This can be the deal breaker. I have hunted with several friends who have taken their kids out, not wearing clothing that fit them. It becomes a constant struggle for the young hunter to move, walk, stay warm and/or dry, becoming a safety hazard from tripping on baggy or oversized clothes, and it's not an enjoyable experience.
If you do not have something that is going to fit your youngster, ask around to your hunting buddies, as I am sure one of them will have some gear that fits. I have traded several articles of kids’ clothing that have been passed through many families. This sure helps your pocket book.
In closing, having the proper equipment, whether you are a new hunter or seasoned veteran, helps create a successful trip to the field. Take some time and talk to your kids, and try out all of your equipment prior to hitting the woods to ensure a safe and successful hunt.