Time flies! One minute, you’re holding your little one in your arms. The next, he or she is joining you in the family hobby—hunting! Of course, there are a few steps in between those two points. Taking your children hunting for the first time is an exciting milestone; however, there are a few things you should consider first.
Teach Your Child about Gun and Hunting Safety
A hunt shouldn’t mark the first time your child has ever held a gun. You should teach your child about proper gun safety ahead of time. In addition, take your child to the range or some place safe to practice shooting. Like all skills, shooting requires practice and diligence.
Speaking of safety, the state of Alabama requires that hunters born on or after Aug. 1, 2977 complete the hunter’s education course. The cost is $28.95, and it takes about four to six hours to complete. At Crooked Oaks, we also provide a safety and shooting course for first-time hunters when you book with us!
Discuss What Will Happen
Children need guidance and support. Take time before their first hunts to discuss what will happen and what to expect. Don’t forget to go through the whole plan of what you’ll be doing. You should also leave room for your children to ask questions! That way, they will have the resources to fully prepare for their first hunt.
Wear the Right Clothes
Does your kid have the right gear? We’re talking orange clothing, gloves, appropriate footwear, and more. When you go shopping, take time to explain why each piece of gear matters. That way, you can ensure your child is well-dressed and well-informed.
Emphasize Complete Awareness
This is one of the most important tips for taking your children hunting for the first time. In fact, it’s one of the most important hunting tips, period! Emphasize to your child just how critical it is to be aware of his or her environment at all times. It’s better to miss a shot because you’re overcautious than to shoot thoughtlessly and hurt someone.
Put Away the Phones
Screens can tempt us all! While it’s wise to have a phone in case of emergencies, there’s no need to have it out throughout your hunt.
First hunts can be exciting—and a little nerve-wracking too! Your child may not end up bringing back any game—and that’s OK. The memories your child will carry from the day matter more than anything else. So, practice understanding and encouragement!
Create a Special Pack for Your Child
Hunger. Boredom. Thirst. Children are apt to complain about them all, in any situation. Prepare a special pack for your child to ensure that he or she has all the necessary supplies. This can include small, healthy snacks, juice or water, and books to pass the time. You can also write down a plan of what you’ll be doing during the day, so that your child can have something to reference.
Monitor Your Child’s Comfort Levels
Going too fast? Taking too long? Or has the environment overwhelmed your child? You should monitor your child’s comfort with the situation in the moment. Though that may mean cutting your day short, you will have done the right thing by putting your kid first.
Remember: You’re the Grown Up
It may not always feel like it, but you’re the grown up! That means it’s up to you to keep an eye on your child—and make sure he or is she is acting safely. You should also refresh yourself on the basics of first aid on a regular basis and carry the necessary supplies.
We have the quail and the grounds. You have the hunting companions. And we have to say—the last of our tips for taking your children hunting for the first time is bringing him or her to Crooked Oaks! Did you know? We are currently offering a Father-Son Hunt Package. This encompasses a half-day hunt geared toward first-time hunters. Come out for an afternoon, and we will provide a safety and shooting course to cover the bases!