1. Schedule the Hunt Early
With kids’ intense schedules these days, it’s important to look at the family’s autumn calendar as early as possible and block off the necessary days or weekends for deer hunting. Late summer is a great time to do this. As the school year approaches, schedules crystallize, and hunting season dates are published. One trick is to block off more days than you need and back off later. Don’t end up shortchanged.
2. Generate Excitement
It’s important to talk about the hunt before it happens. Half of the adventure is the anticipation, especially for young and new hunters. You don’t want to whip them into such a froth that they can’t sleep at night, but do let them know how important the hunting experience is to you, and could be to them. Then they will want to be involved in the planning and preparation.
3. Involve the Young Hunter in Planning and Preparation
It’s human nature to try and “do it all” for the young hunter, and just let them experience the fun of the hunt itself. But it’s important to involve them in the hunt’s preparations — making lists, going on shopping trips, helping make catalog orders, packing, scouting, opening camp and other activities that are part of the adventure.
4. Look for Special Youth Opportunities
Some of the best hunts for kids are the special youth hunt opportunities that so many game departments offer these days. These include regional or statewide seasons for youth only, as well as special park or refuge hunts. Low hunting pressure often makes for a high-quality experience and a good chance to get a deer. Scenarios like these are perfect for a first hunt.
5. Make the Hunt About Them
One reason special youth hunts are good is that they force you, the mentor, to concentrate on the kid. This is the best way to make a beginner hunt work. Young hunters need attention, and lots of it — tutoring, ideas and instruction on everything from firearm, bow and tree stand safety to how to wait silently, minimize movement, prepare for a shot and identify other wildlife and birds you see. You’ve shot deer, and will shoot plenty more; make this time about them.
Take a kid hunting!
Enjoy! -Bucks of Nebraska