As all you experienced hunters know there are many things that contribute to a successful hunt.
There is the hunting location, the weather, gear, clothing, boots, gloves, and of course the right rifle, bullet, and caliber to select.
The best advice my father ever gave me and the number one hunting skill to pass on when introducing youth to deer stalking and hunting is this:
The ability to stalk animals and get in close enough to make sure of a clean one shot kill.
Combine a close range with good shot placement is the by far the best way to introduce kids to shooting and hunting.
This article is going to cover the hunting basics for kids that my father passed on to me and I recommend you pass on to your own kids.
Research Your Target
No matter if you are hunting deer, hogs or turkeys doing your research upfront is the first tip to pass on to junior.
Get them involved in learning the animals behavior, favorite foods, positions of shelter and their defence mechanisms.
Mr. Google is a wealth of information for junior to spend some time on – better than video games!.
Get him or her involved in hunting conversations on the back porch or around the campfire.
Introducing kids to shooting and hunting by spending time with them in researching the animal species you after is a great bonding experience for all involved.
I still remember the hours my father spent with me discussing various tactics deer and hogs will use to outsmart us hunters. Not to mention all the Great Hunting Quotes he would always be telling me.
Hunting Basics For Kids: Get In Close
There is no point in asking your young one to take a 200 yard front on quartering shot if they haven’t shot at a 50-yard broadside target with success.
Not only are they likely to miss, there is a chance of a wounded animal, no fun for a youth just learning the trade.
Teach them basic stalking tips first.
Don’t fall for buck fever.
Patience is the key in any hunting situation. As I always say…..
Walk Little……..Look Lots
When stalking in the woods or forest don’t rest on branches, dead timber or any plant. Rather use the natural surroundings as cover to keep yourself hidden.
I know we all take this for granted now, but that is only because we have spent so many hours in the field. Tell your kids this over and over:– Use the surrounds to your advantage, not as your convenient resting place.
When you need to stop to raise your binoculars do it standing next to a tree so your silhouette blends in with the natural environment.
Don’t stand out in the open bright sunlight to spy on your target as they will see you first!
Move slowly through the hunting zone because a wild animals hearing is even better than its eyesight.
Consider your foot placement before you take the next step:- am I going to tread on some dry crackling leaves or underbrush.
Will that rock move and make a sound.
Walk Little……..Look Lots
Related Article: Hunting Code of Conduct
Wind The Hunters Nightmare
Apart from Superman hearing, wild game has an exceptional sense of smell and when introducing youths to deer stalking and hunting it is critical that they understand how to work the wind in their favor.
Second nature to experienced hunters but not for the young ones we are introducing to shooting and hunting, is keeping the wind in your face.
Use a good quality wind indicator is a great way to demonstrate how even the smallest amount of breeze can swirl around.
Make them understand when the wind changes direction so does the hunting direction.
Practice The Shot
Practice makes perfect as the old saying goes and it is true for a reason.
Your kid must be comfortable shooting the right caliber bullet before the rifle is aimed at an animal.
Practice on targets over and over first.
When introducing youths to deer stalking and hunting shot placement is critical. The last thing you or your child wants is to witness a wounded animal run off into the woods
Hunting Basics For Kids Shooting Techniques
I will put together a more detailed article on teaching the correct shooting techniques to your younger ones however here are some basic points you should pass on.
Do not try to shoot from an awkward or unnatural position. Use a rest:- an old log, a tree or rock, any natural thing in the environment to help support the shooter and weight of the rifle.
Remember their muscles are not as developed as ours – yet!
Select the right caliber rifle so recoil can be managed without inducing excessive flinching.
When introducing youths to hunting and shooting you do not want them to develop a flinch because they started firing with on a 30-06 or 308.
Teach them about holding a steady head in the correct alignment to the scope. This is much easier achieved when being comfortable and using a suitable rest as described above.
The range practice should also develop their trigger finger to move smoothly as the shot is taken, not in a jerky action.
Where to Aim
When introducing youths to shooting and hunting it is best to get hem in a broadside shot position and to focus on the heart lung vitals of the animal. Normally located at the top of the front shoulder but will vary depending on the animal being hunted.
Related Article: How to Butcher a Deer Hind Quarter
Introducing youths to deer stalking and hunting is rewarding for so many reasons.
You get to spend quality time with your kids’ and watch them become true hunters over time.
You get to teach them about the great outdoors and the natural environment. How to respect the hunt and the animal.
So teach them the basics first, the real simple points I have outlined above, over and over.
I guarantee you and your kids will have a great relationship and many stories to recount when sitting back on the porch or around the campfire.
They will remember it forever just as I remember the conversations I had with my father over the many years of hunting together.