Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Take a Kid Hunting This Year
By Bob Humphrey
It’s out with the old, in with the new and time to make resolutions. If you’re a hunter, there’s one resolution you should strive to achieve: take a kid hunting this year. The future of hunting rests firmly on the shoulders of youngsters who take up the sport and it is up to we parents, adults and mentors to ensure we provide that opportunity to as many youths as possible.
Fortunately, more and more states are making that easier to do. Many states now have special youth days or seasons where youngsters can get a first crack at turkeys, deer and waterfowl, among others. It gives them a chance to get out without the hassle and the worry of competition, giving them better odds for success, or at least a more positive experience. Many states also offer reduced licenses and in some cases, liberalized bag limits for youngsters.
The International Hunter Education Association has also worked with individual states to provide an on-line hunter safety course. After an introductory classroom session, youngsters (and adults) can study course material and take section quizzes at home, as time permits. They are then tested and given certification at a final classroom session.
We adults can and should also take steps to make going a field as easy and enjoyable as possible. Plan short hunts. Kids have very short attention spans and if they have to suffer lengthy bouts of boredom they’ll be less inclined to go again. Go when the weather is favorable. If they get wet, cold or otherwise uncomfortable, it will be less enjoyable.
Make it fun. If the hunting’s slow, find other ways to make a hunt more enjoyable. There’s usually plenty of non-game around so you can turn your trip into a natural history lesson, or look for sign. I’ll often take my kids hunting by canoe or SxS vehicle. The ride along is enough to pique their interest, and we can get farther into the woods, away from the crowds. When they’re old enough, they can drive their own ATV, giving them a sense of empowerment and responsibility.
However, whenever or wherever you hunt this coming year, try to take a kid with you. Parents know that taking your own kids is reward enough for a successful hunt. But there are a lot of other kids out there who may not have that opportunity. If you don’t have kids, or even if you do, don’t be afraid to bring other kids. It could be a niece or nephew, a neighbor or a friend of your own children.