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Thread: Planning First Hunt for 10 Year Old (Advice?)

  1. #1
    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Arrow Planning First Hunt for 10 Year Old (Advice?)

    We are planning a first hunt for our soon to be 10 year old son. We would prefer to do a fly out hunt to the Brooks Range for either caribou, sheep, or both. We have considered making it a fly out - float hunt, but we think that it might be too much for our little guy, so we are sticking with the idea of it being fly out.

    I'd like to have advice on:

    Has anyone used charters to the Brooks Range and if so, what's your experience? If you had a bad experience, just remember the forum board rules. We will need a charter for 3 adults and one child.

    Talk to me about your successes in doing caribou through July to October in the Brooks Range. (October is a given with caribou and bow hunting... I know)

    Have you taken your young(er) children with you on hunts and if so, do you have suggestions?

    The son will be doing a hunter education course. This will be part of his birthday present as well. We haven't told him. We plan to surprise him until right before the hunt.

    I'll be looking forward to your responses. We are looking forward to this hunt. It will be the first big game hunt for our son and we just want to make it as memorable as possible.

    Thanks in Advanced!
    ~COtoAK
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  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Great thread, Kimberly. I will also be taking my soon-to-be 10 year old nephew on his first big game hunt next year, so I'll be watching the responses with interest. Unless he draws a different permit, it'll probably be black bear for my nephew, but I'm sure the advice shared will mostly be applicable regardless of area or species.

    Although I haven't taken kids hunting much, I do have a few thoughts as for caribou in the Brooks. First of all, I would strongly suggest that you avoid both July and October. The bugs in the Brooks in July can be stifling. I'm sure you and your boy can handle some insects, but when the black swarms are flying into your eyes and mouth around the clock, it can wear on you after a few days. As for October, caribou go into rut around then and the bulls become inedible. One of the greatest joys for a young hunter is in providing meat for the family, so it would be a crying shame if the meat he harvested was inedible and had to be discarded. Personally I think it should be illegal to harvest bull caribou in October since the meat is so rancid, but until that happens I will do my best to steer all hunters away from hunting caribou around the rut.

    I haven't used the flying services in that area of the state, but I have read a lot of positive reports on Coyote Air out of Coldfoot (starting from the road system), Brooks Range Aviation (Bettles, I think), and Wright's Air Taxi. Do some searches for those services and you'll likely have plenty of reading to do.

    Good luck with the planning, and make sure you share the story when the time comes!

  3. #3
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    One more note on your species of choice:

    Caribou is a great species for a first hunt, regardless of the age of the hunter. Generally caribou hunts offer more sightings, more stalks, and overall more opportunity (and fun!) for the new hunter. Sheep hunting, as you're aware, can be days of looking at animals you're not allowed to hunt. While patience is a good trait to develop in a youngster, you also want him to have a realistic opportunity for success and you don't want to have things drag on for days without at least the chance for a stalk. You'll be far more likely to get your son into the excitement and joy of hunting if caribou is your primary target. It would be awesome to be in a place where you can try for both, but I would suggest making caribou the primary target and getting yourself into an area with solid numbers of bou, even if that means forgoing sheep until another year.

  4. #4

    Default First Hunt

    While it may not be doable for you, a Spring black bear hunt is certainly a good first hunt for children.
    The blind offers a one on one classroom for children as well as a steady rest for their firearm. It allows the shooters to judge animal size and offers a lot of photo ops as well. Kids like bear hunting and it doesn't require the exhausting hikeing across country; trying to keep up with adults.
    A fall caribou hunt would be my second choice, as Brian says it offers a lot of chance for sightings and stalks.
    Good Luck !
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Have you taken him out on day hunts before? Reason I ask I know of people that had there kids jump straight into big game hutning and fly outs and it ended up being a nightmare.

    If you have great, then your kid knows what to expect. My thing on a fly out would be target an animal that your kid will see plenty of. IE caribou this will keep his interest in hunting.

    Keep him dry, well feed. Bring something to keep him busy if you get stuck in the tent for a day or two. Another thing I have with my son is I bought him a book of animal tracks and plants. So when the game was a no show, we made the outting into an educational one without him knowing it. we would find a track and then gusse what animal it was.
    Then look it up to see who was right. This has become fun for him and now without knowing it he has learned what plants to eat and animla tracks.


    I have taken my son hunting. He hasn't gone big game yet but we are working on it. I have been taking him on day trips. So he gets his feet wet on hunting. This upcoming year I will take him to the haul rd. where he will get his first shot at big game.

    July, you will be dealing with allot of bugs!!!!!!! This could be hard on your kid. Caribou will be on the move also do to the heat and bugs. I like to go in Sept if I had a choice.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    Another thing I have with my son is I bought him a book of animal tracks and plants. So when the game was a no show, we made the outting into an educational one without him knowing it. we would find a track and then gusse what animal it was.
    That is a fantastic idea, Gary! I'll make sure to do that with my nephew when I take him hare hunting in a couple of weeks. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Kimberly,

    First off, four people instead of three is gonna really bump up the cost inre air charters. Wright's is using Helios, which can only haul three passengers. So you'll either need larger aircraft or more flights.

    Not sure what kind of outdoorsman your son is, some kids love the outdoors, some don't. Some can't stop whining at every single perceived inconvenience, while others find "roughing it" to be the bomb. Like Gary said, keep him dry, well fed. The plants/tracks book idea also great. We always played a lot of cards or other games (cribbage etc) around the fire or in the tent to pass the time. Kids always had a book or two as well of their own.

    Inre steering clear of a float-hunt, if it was on an easy river and not too long of a float to the take-out, I'd recommend that over just a drop-camp. Kids love being on the water, and you have the added element of fishing at various locations, and most kids love fishing.

    Wouldn't attempt anything too hard, or with too much pressure, like a sheep hunt. Again, not knowing your son's physical condition and abilities, can't say for sure. Main thing I'd say about a first hunt for a ten-year old is nothing too extreme or too physically daunting or with any pressure at all where not being successful doesn't also mean not having a great hunt experience. There is much more to hunting than successfully harvesting an animal...if our youth learn that right off the bat it can make for a lifetime of enjoyable hunts.

    One thing in particular that can sour a new/young hunter is if things go awry in the field, if he or she wounds an animal and it gets away, so particular weight should be given to hunting within the skillset of the new hunter, as well as prudent "backup" from an experienced hunter. My son took his first moose with an iron-sighted 30-30 at 35 yds...and we had passed on that same bull for a whole week because he just wasn't comfortable at longer distances. I noted that I was "egging" him on to a degree a couple times when we had that bull at seventy yds with a good rest, but he just wasn't comfortable enough, and I'm glad he had the wisdom not to listen to dad saying "you can do it." There is a fair amount of us parents who want our kids to succeed so much that we can go beyond what we know is best...and I was guilty of that to a degree. Just another thought to consider when 'buck fever' is at hand <grin>.
    Allbest,

  8. #8
    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Default hmmm

    i did a fly-in to the brooks for sheep and caribou this past august. unfortunately i would not recommend the flight service i used. when i can afford to do it again, i plan to use wright air out of fairbanks. on my hunt in august i floated a river for 10 days, but i believe that would be too long for most 10-year olds. i also think sheep hunting in the brooks would be too much work for a 10-year old given the long distance and elevation gain and loss required to find a legal ram. the caribou on the other hand are plentiful and regardless of a young hunter's strenght/stamina there should be many opportunities for them to take their first big game animal.

    i have a 10 year old daughter who recently became certified to hunt here in AK, so i am also looking for a good hunt option for her at this time. unfortunately i know i cannot afford any fly-in hunts with her in 2009, so my options with her may be very limited.

    good luck to you...what an excellent birthday present you have planned for your son!

  9. #9
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    This will probably tick some people off, but I always find it annoying to see a picture of a little boy or girl next to some giant bear, lion, bison, etc. When I was a kid, I never went on a hunt where I wasn't at least coming close to pulling my own. It made moving up to larger hunts and game that much more rewarding.

    Just the other day I was at Sportsmans Warehouse looking at the pictures on the board and sure enough, there is a little kid with a giant rifle and a dead female lion.

    I say plan a hunt where he is hunting, not just along on a ride where daddy lines the rifle up for him.

    If the little guy has already cut his teeth, then I say go have some fun. Otherwise, I would suggest finding a hunt where he is really working for it. A float hunt for caribou seems reasonable to me if he has hunted before. Of course, you have to take into consideration his tolerance for such things. Getting out in the middle of nowhere is not the place to find out that he isn't having fun anymore.

    Just my 2 cents. Please direct all hate mail to my PM.

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    You don't always know the story behind the picture. I personally watched a 10 year old pull the trigger of a .300 win. mag. on a caribou. It fell over dead, I went over to talk to the dad and in the midst of talking found out the boys age and what gun he was using. A friend and I helped him quarter it because it was on a very steep incline and it wanted to keep sliding as he was maneuvering it around. The son pitched in everywhere he could. We watched them ride off each on their own wheelers. My son and wife did their bow certification together. He was 11 and could manage the minimum forty pound draw for black bears and caribou and passed the test perfectly without a range finder. (Helped that he used to shoot the kids indoor league at Fletchers and we shoot the 3-D shoots at Chugach). Each of us raises their kids their own way and may introduce them to things a little sooner than others, so the true story is not always known. My daughter started shooting bow at 6 and had her own .22 at 7. Bought a Russian trainer for 79 dollars and chopped the stock. Now she won't pick up anything bigger. My son 12 ga. at 8, SKS at 10, .338 for Christmas at 12, Getting a handgun this year for our fishing excursions. Does his own trapping (by snowshoe or shoe-leather express depending on snow depth) away from my stuff. You just have to know what YOUR kids can handle and how much they are willing to put into the sport that they are pursuing. I know how long my daughter is willing to go out for and how much walking she can tolerate for fishing and hunting (she walks farther for fishing) and it's not near as much as my son is willing to put forth, so I plan the trip for which kid is going with me.
    This year my son shot a bear, we were fighting each other getting it down the hill whole(gutted), I went to get more rope and by the time I made it back to the base of the hill he had it down the hill and was waiting for me. So to each their own....

  11. #11

    Smile

    Arrowslinger---Give yourself a little credit also. It was your foresight that saw both of your children work the sport of hunting differently. Your son, is the type of person who can see that a job has to be done and tackles it. Your daughter on the other hand seems a little more reserved, which she should being a young lady. You can be proud that they are on the correct track to handle the numerous events that will be coming during their lifetime. All the best to you and yours.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Good points. The only thing that I find disturbing is when they are "along for the ride" and aren't pulling their own weight. I have seen kids in the field where they aren't even carrying a pack OR a rifle. I think in these cases it is more about the parents than the kids.

    Maybe my tune will change when I have some ankle biters of my own.

    I do agree with your point that every kid is different. If they are up to the task, then I say git 'er done!

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    Member COtoAK's Avatar
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    Wow... great responses and thank you so much! I apologize that it's taken me a little bit of time today to respond. So is life.

    Talking about my son and his skill...
    He has already shot 2 grouse.
    He has experience on a .22 and will be continuing to practice with one.
    We chose caribou because there is more opportunity for him.
    He thinks that being out in the woods is 'the bomb' according to Bushrat.


    About it being a tad more expensive on air charter, we are considering 3 adults because my brother in law hasn't done much hunting since being in Alaska. He's done an amazing amount of ice climbing, but very little to no hunting.
    I don't think that my husband will do a great deal of hunting himself on this trip. If there is anyone that will come back with meat/mount, it will be my son first, then the brother in law, and then myself in that order... because we all still have yet to get caribou.

    I'll post more when I have a chance.
    Lurker.

  14. #14

    Default Biased

    I started hunting at least a week every fall with my Dad and/or whole family when I was 4 years old, so I'm a little biased...that was back in the days when you could get your moose and bou both off the Denali Highway.

    Sound like he loves the outdoors, which will make it an adventure for him; even moreso using a bush plane - man, I STILL get goosebumps jumping into those things and heading out for a hunt!

    The two points I would make are, get him accustomed to shooting a bigger rifle well before the trip, so he has time to get comfy with it in field positions; and, remember that kids get cold a little faster than we do. I know you're a Mom and are already attuned to things like that, but sometimes we forget when we're out in the great outdoors. If he loves the outdoors and can saty mostly warm (or a t least not cold) and dry, he'll have a blast.

    Good luck CO, and take plenty of pics....this hunt will be one to remember for a long time.

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    I took my son on his first big game hunt when he was 12. We hunted the Mulchatna River area for caribou. He had to do 2 things before the trip. First he had to get his hunter safety. We went through the course together (even though I didn't need it) and he passed easily. He had his first .22 at age 4. The second thing he needed to do was learn to shoot his .270 very well. To accomplish that we spent the summer before the hunt up in the mountains shooting rocks. Yes rocks. I would range a rock and he would shoot it. He would shoot uphill, downhill, close, far, etc. And he learned to shoot from all different positions. Standing, sitting, kneeling, prone, etc. So by the end of the summer he had gone through hundreds of rounds of ammo and was a very proficient shot. This all paid off with a beautiful trophy caribou he shot at 300 yards. He was prone. The rifle rested on a back pack. Range was checked with a laser range finder. It took one shot through both lungs. The caribou took 6 steps and was down. It wasn't a hard shot for him because he had done it dozens of times before. He knew what to do. The guy we were hunting with couldn't believe it. And I was one proud father. So if you want a successful hunt, prepare your son to be successful.

    Good luck.

    Paul

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    Member Fuse's Avatar
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    Default My $0.02

    I think it's great you are so excited about taking him out on his first hunt. I agree with everyone else, a sheep hunt will probably be too much for him, and a lack of success could sour him on the whole hunting experience. Though I also think it's an important lesson to learn that you don't always get something and the effort and rewards of being in the wilderness are often enough for great memories on any trip. I have found that lesson is a great one to learn on a second or third trip instead of the first, especially with a younger hunter.

    Also, I think it's important to remember his limits, not yours. Though a lot of us who have hunted a lot don't mind being tired, cold, wet, or skunked, for new hunters I think it's important to be ready to call it quits and not push them too hard. I have had friends who pushed their young ones too hard and killed any interest they had and could never repair the damage.

    There was another thread on here about if someone should lie his daughter shoot the first legal thing they saw or hold out for something better that offered a lot of good advice as well.

    Good luck and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. My daughter is 2 1/2 and she already says, "I want to go hunting with you." I can't wait until she can, but would love to hear how your trip goes and any lessons you care to pass on would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Paul

  17. #17
    Member jkb's Avatar
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    [
    quote=COtoAK;366618]
    I'd like to have advice on:

    Have you taken your young(er) children with you on hunts and if so, do you have suggestions?

    The son will be doing a hunter education course. This will be part of his birthday present as well. We haven't told him. We plan to surprise him until right before the hunt.


    ~COtoAK
    [/QUOTE]

    My biggest suggestion on taking children let them take care of their own gear. Now you have to double check what they are wearing and what they are carrying. I took a 9 and 11 year old on a hard sheep hunt and their parent treated them like toddlers and it showed. The parent would basically dress the kids, not make them help with any camp chores, and when it came time to shoot a sheep the oldest was upset because he did not get the first shot at a sheep on his first hunt. So he stormed off and pouted. It was very frustrating.

    I don't think a youngster on their first hunt should harvest a huge trophy as it can help them lose interest in hunting. My uncle harvested a 150 class whitetail on his first hunt at age 12. He never went again, to easy no challenge.

    I've taken my 11 year old on a sheep hunt and an extreme caribou hunt (she walked about 45 miles) as well as a Eureka 4 wheeler Caribou hunt. While she has not harvested anything she has no problem helping all parts of the hunt including dressing out the animals. On the last caribou she picked up a lower leg and said "Dad, were gonna need a good Vet. for this caribou".

    Have something for him to do during down time. Whether its keeping the fire going or drying clothes.

    Have a great time it sounds like it going to be a blast.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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  18. #18
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Wink first hunt...

    In my opinion...in my experience...(I always forget to add that)...
    Although I scanned the previous posts, I did not read them in detail, so I hope I am not overly repititious.

    Get him his own hunting shirt and hat. Even if you get them over-sized so they will last a few years. Even at age 10 he will feel more engaged in the hunt with his own huntin hat. A good huntin hat always makes me feel good.

    My greatest friend introduced all eight of his grandkids to hunting. This was rather natural because he is a 30 year Master Guide/Outfitter and his daughters husbands are Registered Guides. Grand-dad purchased a .243, cut down the stock, and all the kids have shot caribou and blackbear with it. At around age 11 they could all shoot just fine. One grand daughter ever whacked a ram at age 11. None of these kids ever experienced "buck fever". Their dads did. Their grand-dad did. But kids at that age are cool when the time comes to shoot, especially if you have been able to control the circumstances leading up to the shot.

    A raft hunt? I love raft/float hunts. Guys with airplanes love to fly (whereas I just get airsick). Those of us with rafts love to float. Most of my professional hunts and all my personal hunts are float hunts. But, when taking out the new hunter avoid glacial rivers. For one thing they seldom have any fish. And glacial rivers often seem like a biological desert. Nothing alive is out there on the glacial river floodplane and that is boring to a young hunter. And when the rain comes and the wind begins to blow the fun is over for everybody. When the wind begins to blow the water out of the river, it is (past the) time to eddy-out and get a tent up back in the bushes.

    As a guide I have had clients with older teens (18, 19) and younger abults (young 20s) a few times. Every time the dad/client/hunter starts off by bossing around the younger hunter, the son. Don't do that. It always burns me up to hear the dad telling the son to "help Dennis with the dish washing....help dennis with the gear packin chores...ect. All the bossing around while dad does nothing to set an example, to help with anything, ever. (I also can not stand to hear a waterfowler yelling at his dog before sun-up.) Each time I sent junior away so I could tell dad that he was pissing me off. I would try to explain that the son didn't even want to be there. Heck, with dad gone for two weeks the son would rather be home chasing girls in dads truck. After dad cut out the boss/father/chore administrator act the hunts got fun for all of us.

    Now my experiences with teens and 20 year old sons really does not relate to your hunt with your 10 year old, but what I'm gettin at is to just keep it fun out there for all of you. Your son will probably help out all week long anyway, but let him decide when he wants to help or loaf. Let him be a kid and catch a grasshopper if that is what his ten-year-old heart wants to do.

    And of course, it is simply wonderful to take your kids out. At age fifty-something I can still remember every little fish I ever caught while I was with my dad. They will remember everything for the rest of their lives. (So will you.)

    ...just my opinion...just my experiences...

    Dennis
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  19. #19

    Smile Caribou for sure....

    Any bull caribou for that 10 year old is a trophy. Last week of August through the first week of September should be a great time to go. Lots of practice out to 300 yards from a good sitting and prone position. Lord willing I will have my Grandkids shooting at moose, caribou and bear by age 10. Have a fun and safe trip!

  20. #20
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If it were my kid, I don't think I would allow them to take a shot past 100 yards or so on their first animal. It's not that the kid might not be capable - certainly practicing out to that range is a great thing - but a young hunter should learn the patience and the skill necessary to make a successful stalk. There is nothing more exciting on a hunt than belly crawling and using every bit of cover from bushes to tiny dips in the ground to work your way closer to an animal. If you make your kid practice getting closer then that harvest will be sweeter when he connects. Also, regardless of how good a shot your son is, their is more potential for a wounded animal at a longer distance. Practice long shots if you'd like, but also practice stalking skills and use those to get close before allowing him to pull the trigger.

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