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Thread: trying to get him started

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    Member roughneck6883's Avatar
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    Default trying to get him started

    I am a father of an 7 (and a half) year old boy I feel kinda lost trying to get him started out. I remember being taught to hunt in montana and would go through the process the same way I was taught but alaska presents a challenge,it is different than montana.I am looking for advice from parents that have benn through this and can give me some dos and donts I am probably going rabbit hunting I dont know where yet but I know I want to make it a good experience especially since it will be cold I am hoping if he does well I might be able to take him for blacktail in aug 2011

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    I have been watching hunting videos on youtube with my two girls. They like the ones with kids getting the animals (here are a lot of whitetail does taken from permanent blinds in the vids, but we have fun watching them). We will only watch for 15-20 minutes and as soon as they get bored we do something else. They like shooting bb-guns at balloons and at shoot & see targets, I think Ice blocks would be fun with a .22. They both enjoy going on “scouting trips” with me because the rule is that we can eat junk food when we go (my rule, but it works). Our scouting trips are short and are primarily to get them out there and having fun. We don’t usually see anything but they always are the ones who find tracks or the game trails that the animals have been using. I tell mom what a good job they did and she is always impressed by how well they are doing and that makes them feel like they are one step away from a B&C head on the wall. I like to keep things short and to praise them for doing a good job when we go.
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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    It's hard to state it any better than moose-head. You need to get them out and see if they are interested, first of all. My son showed a lot of interest very early, and I had him out after grouse at age 6. He's since bagged several grouse and ptarmigan. We're working toward some bigger game with his .243.

    The time in the woods with me seems much more important to him than actually bringing home some meat though. I think that's a part of growing up that too many kids miss out on. Get them out there, and whether they are into hunting or not, they will never forget ther time spent with you in the woods.

    As far as advice - the best advice I can offer is that the youngsters get cold much quicker than we do. MAKE SURE he is bundled up good, or he won't be happy. I took my son out riding four-wheelers in the winter a few years ago, and we had to cut the trip short because he got too cold.

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    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    Roughneck shoot me a pm if you want and I will share a few locals that have good chances for a young kid to have a fun hunt with dad. I took my kids duck hunting with me this year and they loved it there is lots of action and they got to start learning how to identify distances and differant kinds of ducks. now all they do is beg for more. In fact I am taking my kids out for grouse and rabbits tomorrow.

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    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moose-head View Post
    I have been watching hunting videos on youtube with my two girls. They like the ones with kids getting the animals (here are a lot of whitetail does taken from permanent blinds in the vids, but we have fun watching them). We will only watch for 15-20 minutes and as soon as they get bored we do something else. They like shooting bb-guns at balloons and at shoot & see targets, I think Ice blocks would be fun with a .22. They both enjoy going on “scouting trips” with me because the rule is that we can eat junk food when we go (my rule, but it works). Our scouting trips are short and are primarily to get them out there and having fun. We don’t usually see anything but they always are the ones who find tracks or the game trails that the animals have been using. I tell mom what a good job they did and she is always impressed by how well they are doing and that makes them feel like they are one step away from a B&C head on the wall. I like to keep things short and to praise them for doing a good job when we go.
    Sounds perfect to me. Keep up the good work Dad.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I got my kid out at a very early age. Mainly short trips for rabbits, then some longer day trips for carribou. We hunted something like 10 days this year together for moose and bou and probably twice that many day trips for bunnies and scouting. Couple pieces of advice- accept limited objectives with younger kids along. Its a trip outdoors with your kid- maybe you bag something, maybe you don't- getting the kid out is the priority as others have said. If the weather turns to crap, pack it in. I can rationalize being cold and wet but my kid can't yet. I accept that limitation when he's along.

    Second piece is to get your kid decent gear- lot of folks skimp on kids gear because they're kids. Its a mistake, if anything I buy my kid better gear than I've got because once he's cold or wet neither of us is gonna have fun and we darn sure aren't bagging anything.

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    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    Everyone has different methods, but I think we would all agree that getting them out there is the first step, then remember not to over do it. Getting game helps. just like fishing kids get bored fast, they do need to learn patience but that takes time. Getting him to the range will help to he needs to feel confident in his ability to shoot. finally and most important be very positive kids get discouraged easy at first especially if they think they messed up or disappointed dad on a hunt. make sure they know how proud you are just to be out there with them and that everything else is just a bonus to getting to spend time with your son in the woods. Gotta go now, my son just asked for help practicing his marksmanship on ww II germans

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    The thing to remember is if you take them fishing and the next thing you know their having fun thowing rocks ,Have all the fun you can thowing rocks.They will ask you to take them fishing again.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Pretty straight forward teach him marksmanship in the yard w/ a BB gun, then take him with you on range days let him help you sight in your rifle by using the spotter with you between shots, take some clays and set them up as reactionary targets then let him shoot at them with a 22. Let him take a game boy or some other toy in case he gets bored but if you let him "help" he probably won't. The big deal is to make it all fun.

    Next teach him woodsmanship. Show him how to look at the trail and place his steps as to be quiet as possible. Show him how to read the terrain and find areas that look good for rabbits or different types of grouse. Stop often and the junk food idea is a good one. I like to carry along a predator call and make a set with them. I tell him we are going to try and be super quiet and hide for 10 or 15 minutes to see if we can get a fox to come in. I make sure he has a watch so it isn't an arbitrary time, it is something he can see and count down to. This really has nothing to do with actually getting a predator and everything to do with seeing how patient he can be. It is pretty cool when you get to the point that the woods come back to life around you. After a set we discuss how it went and if he thinks we would have seen something if we sat longer or if we had set up differently. We discuss wind and where he thinks an animal would have come in from or how they may have busted us. Ultimately it is all about spending time with dad and learning how animals think. Most important is to make it FUN! The days need to revolve around him. His endurance and excitement level should be the deciding factor on how long you stay out. A good pizza or burger lunch should never be too far away either, I am always ready to pull up stakes and head to DQ or IHOP!

    Oh last note, rolling a 4 wheeler on top of your kid and pinning him under water in a creek is something that should be avoided on a first moose trip (or ever). Yes that happened to me, I always make my kids wear a helmet thankfully and he was ok. Most important is the fact that despite that traumatic experience he still constantly asks me when we are going hunting again! 7 year old boys tend to be their dads biggest fans, odds are if you make it fun they will love the outdoors just because you do, all of my favorite childhood memories involve rifles and wilderness.

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    Default 1st rate cold weather gear is primary

    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Second piece is to get your kid decent gear- lot of folks skimp on kids gear because they're kids. Its a mistake, if anything I buy my kid better gear than I've got because once he's cold or wet neither of us is gonna have fun and we darn sure aren't bagging anything.
    This should be the first order of biz, not the second.

    If they get wet, you're done. If they get cold, you're done. If you're not done right then, they'll not ever want to come be tortured out there again.

    Stop twice as often, build twice as many warming fires, bring twice the warm socks..... as any reasonable person would need.

    Start small (trip distance wise) so you're not past the point of fun-return. If it ain't fun, it ain't going to happen again.

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    Default a crappy funny story

    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Start small (trip distance wise) so you're not past the point of fun-return. If it ain't fun, it ain't going to happen again.
    Maybe I should elaborate; I've come very close to breaking this rule myself.

    I got my 3 year old (very tuff) boy 15 miles back in, via my canoe shown in my avatar. We're warming ourselves at a nice fire ring on an uninhabited island, and I'm trying not to follow the many big game tracks too far back - 'cause he's small and I don't want to scare him.

    And then he has to take a crap. Real bad. But we hadn't practiced this outdoors before. Bad Dad.

    He's crying, I'm 'splainin' how to take a crap outdoors, then I even go so far as to build him a throne (and a fine one I might add) out of firewood and some ginormous roots still attached to a tree.

    Still no deal; the boy won't crap.

    So I load'm up and head full tilt in the canoe (a blazing 16MPH or so) back 15 miles to where our camper (with a toidy he likes) is parked and the boy made it back there and all was fine, but that was my warning shot across the bow to start short-distance until "certain" skills are learned.

    Sorry to tell a crappy story but in retrospect I find it funny.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Great story there FM. Son #2 was the first to break that seal ironic enough. We were fishing and it only took a bit of convincing before he let her rip on the bank of the river. Biggest problem I had was he dropped a load in my driveway a few days later. It's was hard to "punish" him for that. They never seem to take me serious when I am fighting back tears of laughter!

  13. #13

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    I can't agree more with what everyone on here has posted. Key points: it is all about him; keep him warm; don't set goals too high for you or him; take him shooting; take him out and spend time with just HIM in the woods.

    My six year old is just getting into shooting and hunting and is super excited about it! We have been out a couple times actually hunting. The first time we got on grouse immediately and he shot three shots and missed one (it was in the trees and sun was such that it was hard to see). He finally said "dad, you shoot it" and I did. He was super stoked we got one and I showed him how to dress it out and dried the tail for him. Last weekend we planned an all day hunt, just him and me (no mom, no little brother in diapers) and of course we had to bring the four wheeler. We were out all day, road the wheeler a bunch (he even got to "drive" some on the flat area), walked a bunch, had a fire and ate sadwitches and snacks periodically on breaks, got stuck several times and he got to pull the winch out and even reel it in a couple times, watched some guys get their truck stuck right where we were eating lunch (he heard a few choice words which of course was the first part of the adventure he told mom ), stopped in a couple gravel pits to shoot a bunch, and in general had an awesome time. We didn't even see a grouse the whole time (lots of feathers and shotgun shells), but he had a GREAT time. It did't bother him at all that we didn't get a grouse and he was telling me "I'm sorry we didn't get a grouse, we will get some another time". He kept saying "I can't wait to tell mom about our adventure".

    Key to all this ramble is that you have to start out slow, make sure he has a good time, and make sure you don't pump him up so much he gets let down. I have explained to him many times that hunting is not all about killing, but getting out and enjoying the woods. I point out stuff to him out there and teach him about picking up garbage and respecting the land. And we have FUN. It has become clear that he is excited about hunting because it is exciting to me and he treasures the times we go out, just the two of us.

    Anyways, congrats to you on wanting to get your kids out there. Our kids are the only legacy we leave behind and they should be the single most important aspect of our lives.

  14. #14
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    roughneck6883, you'll do fine - remember the younger they are the shorter the attention span! Mentally have to go down to their level as they fall short getting up to ours - keep it simple - stay VERY flexible!
    First time my daughter went deer hunting with me ( age about 9 or 10 ), we spent more time trying to catch a mouse in our blind than looking for deer!
    Also, find things that make sense to a kid when talking "lead the animal" etc - takes some time to comprehend when you have no reference experience. Good Luck!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Ok gentlemen...I'm with ya on the fun, good gear, and time with dad aspects of gettin' kids out there. I have to admit though that I feel a strong responsibility towards teaching my daughters how to work hard and be patient.

    After all the travel, gear work, and education,I ultimatly give them a choice. Do you want the hard hunt with high probability or the easy hunt with lower probabiliy? That way they know I care and they have a choice. I never get the hard hunt choice between all three so it ends up being a singular affair but it's established before leaving the door that complaining is just not happening. I do everything in my power to make the hard hunt, less hard and really care about every log, creek, and hill. Each piece of gear is double checked and I don't skimp food and clothing. I want to teach my children how to benifit from a well thought out challenging endeavor, hunting can do this.

    They also understand we are out to kill for food. A trophy is appreciated but every effort is taken to work hard at a complete harvest with much discusion about food. The daughter participating in the hard hunt gets first choice of backstrap off the grill. They help are participate in putting up meat every year. They also see the extra work and responsibility of trophy care. Try getting away with a complete fleshin, salting, and drying of bear without your kids noticing.

    My .02

    I love teaching my daughters to hunt and appreciate the wilderness.

  16. #16
    Member roughneck6883's Avatar
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    thanks for all the advice I have taken him to the range (he is pretty good) and he has hunted with me and was with me on an easy pronghorn hunt in colorado and we got skunked on a bear hunt in montana he had fun on both but this will be the first year I he is going to take an animal. he is happy to get out and se5t his own limits. I think what is best is to follow all the advice and use bighorse's advice over the next few years throw in a challenge more and more often untill hunting for him can be a chalenge not a miserable expirence with a reward at the end but I heard great stories and advice thank you all!

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    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Started all my kids in the womb. I've made hunting/fishing a family thing, only on certain occasions I go alone or with someone else. But even now my 2 year old son and 3 year old daughter are hooked on hunting and it is tough to leave them at home. It takes time afield showing and teaching kids to hunt/fish, and if they don't like the outdoors or cold then it gets tougher.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Still no deal; the boy won't crap.
    My kid was so bad about not wanting to crap in the woods it became a major health concern on our trip to Kodiak when he was 12. He held it for several days. I finally said, "go take a crap" and pointed towards our latrine...then I turned on the bear fence and wouldn't let him back into the perimeter until he was done with his business. Tough kid, weird hang ups. We haven't had an issue since then
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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bighorse View Post
    I feel a strong responsibility towards teaching my daughters how to work hard and be patient.

    After all the travel, gear work, and education,I ultimatly give them a choice. Do you want the hard hunt with high probability or the easy hunt with lower probabiliy? That way they know I care and they have a choice.
    I really like this "make a choice" training,
    I understand all the advice about not overdoing it, and that is all really good, but I feel torn between the "Reality of what hunting often is for me" Hard work in the field, vs. making sure they enjoy themselves, are always warm, etc.

    So I'm working on finding that balance. This perspective of teaching them there is a choice, but that the more difficult hunt is probably going to be the more successful, is a key I don't want to miss
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Consider yourself lucky! I can't get my 7-1/2 year old to use the bathroom in the lodge! He either uses the outhouse or the woods! He has been out in the woods since about 3 months old. People are right... don't take your hunting too serious when you have a kid. Let them throw rocks, kick around in creeks, and play. I've had my son packing a bb gun in the woods since about 3-1/2 years old, and teaching him hunter safety since then. They really like carrying a gun, even fi it's just a bb gun. When he was 4, I had him out shooting the .22, and .410. He got his first porcupine at 4, and we had it stuffed, and on the wall of the lodge. He tells the story to everyone that walks in.

    It was very interesting from last hunting season to this one. Last year he still wanted to play around and not pay close attention. This year, he turned 100% and he could sit still with me for 3 hours overlooking a pond or swamp. He also started packing his .308 this season out in the woods. No shells in it of course. He did really well, and you could tell that he was proud to be given that responsibility.

    As noted, keep it fun for them. You will have to alter how you hunt for a couple of years. Also, a big plus is always have thier favorite snack for them out in the woods. It goes a long way to them enjoying it. I actually convinced my son at 4 years old that to be a 'real hunter' he had to eat sardines and crackers. It's the only time of year we eat them, but he likes being part of that tradition.

    Let them shoot anything legal you see. I started bob early with the .22, but he was having trouble. When I moved him to the .410 his success went up. Squirrels, porcupine, ground squirrels (you must keep the meat or hide on these). Ptarmagin, etc.

    You are going to have a lot of fun!! Take lots of pictures!

    Claude
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

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