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Thread: children in the field?

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    Default children in the field?

    I have two children that imho are two young to hunt. 4 and 5 yo. I do want to start to include them in the proses however. I am moving to Alaska in November and am planing on getting out next year. My son and daughter have both been asking to go with me hunting for the last few years. What would you say is the best age to get them started. I am not asking about letting them dispatch an animal just be in the field with me. I have taken them fishing and i can say my 5y/o daughter has successfully landed on her own the biggest brown that has been in my net (28inch ). Her response was priceless. "Dad what do you mean i cant eat it?" I try to release the breeders and he was certainly mature.

    So i have two things im thinking of. One a tree stand over bait after blackies or on foot chasing Caribou. My family hikes fairly regularly and I know my kids can do 2-3 miles right now. I have never hunted in Alaska and still don"t know what to expect. If anyone here has exp with kids and hunting what have you done, what do you recommend, and what should i expect? Thanks for any advise and input!

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Hunting blackies in a stand call for patience and a quiet venue- neither of which a child can do for a long period of time. Caribou is doable of a float hunt but it's a lot of work doing a float as is, then add in keeping an eye on kids.

    My son will be 7 next year and I'll be getting him out on a moose hunt but I'll be teaching him all year what to do and what not to do. Luckily he's not too shabby with a moose call so if he can't be quiet, I'm sticking a caller in his mouth lol
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    It would be better to think smaller with kids the age of yours...
    Snow Shoe Hare, Grouse/ptarmigan would be much better game to begin with, then in a few short years they'll be ready to accompany you after bigger game...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    It would be better to think smaller with kids the age of yours...
    Snow Shoe Hare, Grouse/ptarmigan would be much better game to begin with, then in a few short years they'll be ready to accompany you after bigger game...
    Have to agree with John here...kids need to start out with the smaller game and short trips to keep them engaged. Lots of camping trips looking for animals, understanding that it takes time to find game before they can be hunted. Sounds like your kids are getting the right exposure and have inherited the "hunting gene"!

    TWB: Love the comment about the moose call!!! Priceless.
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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    I took my kids (1st and 3rd grade) on a boat based black bear hunt this spring. We had a fantastic time. I went with another dad and his twin 4th graders. I say take your kids. Keep them warm, pack lots of snacks, perhaps a small and quiet electronic game (I know, I hate them too.), and get out there with your kids. I think the smiles say it all. What do you think?

    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Never too young! As others have said, take them out small game hunting and get them used to hunting/being quiet. A caribou hunt would be ideal for them if you want to take them big game hunting. I took my wife, 2 year old and 7 year old and wheelered about 25 miles back in and camped for a couple days this fall so my wife could hunt her draw caribou permit. We got a caribou (two year old slept in the backpack on my back while we executed a text-book stalk) and the 7 year old was just blown away by the whole experience! Be prepared for a TON of work taking kids on a trip like this and make sure you have all possible "emergencies" thought out. It is well worth it though, imo. I started hunting when I was just out of diapers and I think that played a big part in my love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and respect of the land.

    Good on you for wanting to get the kids out there and welcome to Alaska!

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    1, 3, and 4 almost 10 miles from the highway....


    The baby did fanstasic!

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    My son started going frog hunting with me when he was two. At four, he was shooting handguns. Took his first deer with a bow at the age of thirteen as my divorced first wife must of lied about his age so he could hunt. :-)

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Like everyone else said get them out there keep them warm, dry, and plenty of snacks and they will have a blast. I have been taking my girls out with me all over the place and they have loved every minute of it.

  10. #10

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    Had my daughters on the bear stand with me when they were 3 and 4 years old. Took them out grouse hunting on atv, moose hunting in the boat, etc. Just make sure you are prepared for everything!

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    I started taking my son at about age 4, mainly small game but a few big game hunts as he got older. Keep them warm and dry (emphasis!) but foremost keep your expectations reasonable about what they can handle and what you can accomplish with them along.

    I also don't suggest you push them into shooting too early. My son has only started being interested in shooting cartridge arms in the last year or so. Kids seem to take to bows well and it makes them feel like part of the hunt whether you intend to take game with one or not- stump shooting also gives them something to do in camp that's relatively quiet.

    The rewards after a couple years in the field are well worth it, my son is now 10 and is on his way to becoming quite an outdoorsman. He has accompanied me on several successful hunts the last 2 years and loves it.

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    IDK why i never thought of small game. That would be ideal. I certainly have no expectations of a successful hunt with my kids the first few times out. ( or with out them really.) We are moving to Eagle River were can i get them out and looking at some bunnies, if you don't mind me asking? I am completely lost here I did not start hunting until my second year in college and am still myself a young hunter. not in age but in exp lol. I have been fortunat enough that the last 4 years my family has only eaten wild meat and i have been able to grow as an outdoors men. My children have been out on backpacking and hiking trips as soon as mom was able to get around. Some of it was on my back or on my shoulders but they have had the exposure. My family and I are relocating for that work and just a better life for the kids. Its a different world down here in California and IMO not a good one for kids. Thanks again.

    Sounds like i may need some cream of mushroom and a crook pot. here bunny bunny bunny.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest you take a look at hunt_ak's report from his family's caribou hunt this fall, but it looks like he beat me to this thread. (Still, it's worth reading his report since he goes more into detail on what went in to getting all of those kids out there and making it fun for everyone.)

    I have pictures of me out caribou hunting with my family at 3 months old, and while I didn't do the same with my boys, they have already spent more nights in tents at 1 and 3 than many adults I know. It's doable, but it has to be done with more planning, at a slower speed, and with slightly adjusted priorities. Comfort and fun have to take precedence over harvesting game - though both can certainly be accomplished. Looking forward to the next few years, my plan is to do family hunts similar to what hunt_ak did - ATV based hunts in early fall where we've got more mild weather and can carry plenty of gear to make it comfortable for the kiddos. My wife and I prefer walk-in hunts, but we've invested in a couple of ATVs specifically so that we can take the boys along until they're old enough to schlep their own gear. I'm not generally one to encourage people to join the masses on ATVs, but it makes it easier to get a well-stocked camp into the field with the little ones, so it might be worth considering.

    As another option, if you're a certified bowhunter you could do a nice road-based family hunt off of the Dalton Highway north of the Brooks Range. Your kids could get into some great hiking and hunting with you and it can all be done on foot. Caribou and moose, anyhow, would be my choice over a bear stand for the reasons mentioned above regarding the need for quiet and patience. That's the beauty of caribou hunting - constant movement and some noise isn't a deterrent to success. Add to that frequent stops for berry picking and grayling fishing and you've got a hunt that is tailor-made for kids.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by medic2022 View Post
    We are moving to Eagle River were can i get them out and looking at some bunnies, if you don't mind me asking?
    Send me a note when you get here and I'd be happy to sit down with you over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer to talk ideas. Congratulations on making the move - it's a wonderful place to raise children. My wife is from California and every time we visit we are constantly reminded of why we live in Alaska. The learning curve is steep, but it's a wonderful place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by medic2022 View Post
    IDK why i never thought of small game. That would be ideal. I certainly have no expectations of a successful hunt with my kids the first few times out. ( or with out them really.) We are moving to Eagle River were can i get them out and looking at some bunnies, if you don't mind me asking? I am completely lost here I did not start hunting until my second year in college and am still myself a young hunter. not in age but in exp lol. I have been fortunat enough that the last 4 years my family has only eaten wild meat and i have been able to grow as an outdoors men. My children have been out on backpacking and hiking trips as soon as mom was able to get around. Some of it was on my back or on my shoulders but they have had the exposure. My family and I are relocating for that work and just a better life for the kids. Its a different world down here in California and IMO not a good one for kids. Thanks again.

    Sounds like i may need some cream of mushroom and a crook pot. here bunny bunny bunny.
    I second what Brian M said. Shoot me a PM when you get here and we can help you out.

  16. #16

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    I grew up going on the family hunting trips. I was included in the trips since I was less than a year old. Obviously I wasn't actively hunting until later, but I loved the trip as long as I can recall. Warm, dry clothes are a huge thing if you want them to enjoy it.Think of ways to keep them interested. It's hard for kids that age to focus on one thing for hours on end, much less days. When I grew up, our trips were almost always in areas where you could do more than just hunt. There was trout or grayling fishing that I could do when at camp or around the boat. You mentioned your kids like to fish, so looking for something with that available as well could help.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    My wife and I prefer walk-in hunts, but we've invested in a couple of ATVs specifically so that we can take the boys along until they're old enough to schlep their own gear. I'm not generally one to encourage people to join the masses on ATVs, but it makes it easier to get a well-stocked camp into the field with the little ones, so it might be worth considering.
    +1- I also prefer walk in hunts but after my son became more interested in going on multi-day trips I decided that logistically it was just too tough for me to schlep in a luxe camp, kill a critter and schlep the whole bit out again in a reasonable time frame. While I personally dislike using ATVs, this was the circumstance that led me acquiring another one. Its opened up vast new areas for us to hunt together as a family but its something I was hesitant to do.

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    First off thanks for the fast and helpful responses. Just an example of why Alaska. Brian and littleman will do. looks like we will be in need of a new 22. or maybe a 17 we shall see.

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    I've been taking my kids along on local moose hunts, mostly evening hunts, since they were 4 years old. The first time my boy asked to go, I said yes (of course) and lowered my expectations for the "hunt". I just wanted him to have fun out there. I let him choose the spot where we would try calling, showed him how to scrape and call, and we sat back to enjoy the evening. I had to keep him from calling/scraping every 20 seconds and he started to understand how to call. A few minutes later we had a legal bull come in but because of where we set up, I could not get a shot and after the bull ran off, my boy was PO'ed that I didn't shoot it. I explained why but he remained a little upset about it for a few days. Lesson learned, even if it's just kid's games, be ready for anything!

  20. #20
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Take your kids!!! Like it has been said plan accordingly and have realistic expectations. If you and your wife work as a team it is tons of fun and not all that difficult. We started taking our kids early. My youngest was only 18 months old on his first Prince William Sound adventure. There was one trip out of Seward (just my boys and me) where I was changing diapers and baiting hooks while trolling for silvers. Not the most relaxing, but what memories. Kids are tough. With the proper gear and plenty of food they can tolerate a lot. The one challenge which is hard to overcome is tiredness. When my kids are tired, thats it, nothing will make them happy except a warm sleeping bag. Back in 2009 on a trip in Prince William Sound we harvested a black bear right at dark about 10:30 pm. My youngest son was only 3 at the time his brother just turned 6. We didn't get the anchor dropped until after midnight and boy howdy those boys where tired. I was fried and all they could do was cry, real tears of pure exhaustion. I was unprepared and waited to long to have their beds ready. Once in there sleeping bags all was well. I learned to adjust my expectations and plan better. Best of luck and I will throw my name in the hat for a sit down conversation about family adventures.

    akjeff



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