Kids and hunting

gallagher71

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Seems your decision of success or failure on a hunt depends upon how you've defined your goal. As a father of 7 ages 12 to 3 who's taken 4 of them hunting, my definition of a successful hunt with kids is based upon successfully experiencing God's creation, pursuing established goals with them, bestowing some manhood on sons, and teaching them lessons greater than hunting. For me, hunting isn't about punching a tag, it's about the experiences I share with those people who I choose to join with on a hunt.

In my last days, I will be grateful for hunts I've had. That gratefulness will pale in comparison to how I've used what gifts I've been given to pour into others, particularly into my kids.

I choose my life goals and use the gift and privilege of hunts and so many other such gifts to pursue them. Sometimes I do better at achieving those life goals than other times. But I only fail at a hunt when I lose site of the reasons I'm on it.
 

rtraverdavis

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I’ve enjoyed reading the responses on this thread a lot, and have gleaned some ideas to similar questions I’ve have had. Thanks for putting this out there @neffa3 .
My kids are still really young, three and five. I’m in the process of trying to figure this out, as best I can. I very much want my kids to love the outdoors, to feel comfortable and connected with being outside. I’m far less concerned about them sharing the same level of enthusiasm for hunting that I do. If they can move about the woods and feel like they are home, in a way, then I don’t really care if they never shoot an animal. So we spend as much time out there as we can, rain or shine, despite living in a major city. I talk a lot about hunting, point out tracks, show them different plants and critters, let them get into shit and be kids. I bring lots of snacks.

Here’s our once-a-weekend spot:
1635224468053.jpeg

But one thing that I really got from the OP is the struggle to balance one’s own needs with the needs and growth of our kids. I didn’t start hunting seriously until 2015, in my early 30s. Now, I have all this passion and drive to hunt as much as I can, but very little time with which to do it.
Unlike fishing, which I became very serious about when I was a kid and have very much been there, done that—I would much rather take my kids fishing and help them than catch fish myself. With hunting though I feel like I haven’t gotten enough of it myself to not feel some sense of loss at the idea of sacrificing a season so that my kids can join me on the one big hunt I get each year. I get how selfish that sounds, but I have certain goals and believe it’s healthy for not only me but the whole family for everyone to be able to reasonably pursue their goals. Maybe it’ll change in a few years, but the idea of my kids coming along on the mule deer hunt I just got back from at their age… no way. Some of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard on this thread (at least for me personally) are:
1. Keep something for yourself, if you need to—like a big, out-of-state adventure hunt—to keep that personal balance
2. Start the kids with smaller, closer-to-home stuff, with the potential for lots of action
3. Bring the kids separately for important, one-on-one time—at least when they’re young
4. Be patient and enthusiastic (I’m great at the latter, the former is a work in progress…)

Thanks for the discussion, it’s given me a lot to think about.
 

D_Walt

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Kids are different, my brothers grew up with the same ample hunting and fishing opportunities I had and neither one of them was ever real interested, though they killed a few deer. I was, and still am, a hunting addict since I was four or five.

I have two kids, 15 yo daughter and almost 12yo son. They are both hunting machines, though my daughter didn’t get the bug until the last year or two. For several years I thought she wouldn’t ever be into it.

My advice would be make trips with them about having fun and about their hunting experience, make a separate trip for yourself until you’re at a place where you’d rather see them succeed (when they have real interest). Opportunity is king with kids, try to find a hunt with the highest odds possible to keep them interested - and there is a possibility they just might not be that interested ever.
 

BearFoot

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my definition of a successful hunt with kids is based upon successfully experiencing God's creation, pursuing established goals with them, bestowing some manhood on sons, and teaching them lessons greater than hunting. For me, hunting isn't about punching a tag, it's about the experiences I share with those people who I choose to join with on a hunt.
What gallagher71 said and,

My general idea for getting kids into hunting, is just bring them along. A hunting trip is an experience, where learning happens. My kids are in their 30's now. The girls like summer camping, hiking, gardening, chickens. Not so much cold weather hunt camp. My son, who I first brought along at 7, is my hard core partner now, he pushes me. Last two years the grand children are coming along. This is where we both (the kid & I) sacrifice. Kids are noisy, hungry all the time, and must be watched over for potential dangers. We have hunt duo for years. Now one of us must be a mother protecting the young, the other off solo.

I am grateful for every trip, every outing. Sometimes we get one, other times not. Being together in the outdoors is awesome!
 

Pahoundsman

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I don't see anything in the pictures that show a semblance of failure. Looks like the kids are having fun. Just keep taking them out, if they want to go. Eventually they'll either keep going or gravitate to other activities. Time goes fast, you'll eventually have the time to yourself again.
This. I had 3 boys and we went and I tried to make it fun. 2 of my boys stayed with it and 1 didn’t. They grew into men with their own families and now I have all the time I want to hunt by myself. I wouldn’t push them to hard just enjoy the times you have together. You’ll have your own hunt sooner than you think.
 

Trailsend

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As long as there is room in the vehicles and they can handle the weather and activity take them with. The time and memories are more important than the bag limit.
 

neffa3

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my definition of a successful hunt with kids is based upon successfully experiencing God's creation,
I've also thought about this. I'm not a traditionally religious person. But when I'm in the woods, especially here in WA, I feel what I assume is a similar feeling to what those in church feel. A deep welcoming home connection to something greater. It cannot be experienced without complete silence and stillness of ones self and mind, a slowing of time, a deliberate focusing of energy.

Now add whisper fights, giggles, and crying in a random pattern and the connection isn't there.

Also, there are so many opportunities to simply experience nature, literally every weekend all year, and most evenings, that to draw the line between a desire to show my kids nature and the 10-day hunting season seems like an exaggeration. Some of you may not have been cyber stalking me enough to pick up that I take my kinds on all kids of outdoor stuff, we camp, hike almost every weekend, and just started doing river trips (day ones so far). I teach them about nature in general all the time. But there's something different about hunting... I'm struggling to communicate some of my angst on this topic.

I’ve enjoyed reading the responses on this thread a lot, and have gleaned some ideas to similar questions I’ve have had. Thanks for putting this out there @neffa3 .
My kids are still really young, three and five. I’m in the process of trying to figure this out, as best I can. I very much want my kids to love the outdoors, to feel comfortable and connected with being outside. I’m far less concerned about them sharing the same level of enthusiasm for hunting that I do. If they can move about the woods and feel like they are home, in a way, then I don’t really care if they never shoot an animal. So we spend as much time out there as we can, rain or shine, despite living in a major city. I talk a lot about hunting, point out tracks, show them different plants and critters, let them get into shit and be kids. I bring lots of snacks.

Here’s our once-a-weekend spot:
View attachment 199264

But one thing that I really got from the OP is the struggle to balance one’s own needs with the needs and growth of our kids. I didn’t start hunting seriously until 2015, in my early 30s. Now, I have all this passion and drive to hunt as much as I can, but very little time with which to do it.
Unlike fishing, which I became very serious about when I was a kid and have very much been there, done that—I would much rather take my kids fishing and help them than catch fish myself. With hunting though I feel like I haven’t gotten enough of it myself to not feel some sense of loss at the idea of sacrificing a season so that my kids can join me on the one big hunt I get each year. I get how selfish that sounds, but I have certain goals and believe it’s healthy for not only me but the whole family for everyone to be able to reasonably pursue their goals. Maybe it’ll change in a few years, but the idea of my kids coming along on the mule deer hunt I just got back from at their age… no way. Some of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard on this thread (at least for me personally) are:
1. Keep something for yourself, if you need to—like a big, out-of-state adventure hunt—to keep that personal balance
2. Start the kids with smaller, closer-to-home stuff, with the potential for lots of action
3. Bring the kids separately for important, one-on-one time—at least when they’re young
4. Be patient and enthusiastic (I’m great at the latter, the former is a work in progress…)

Thanks for the discussion, it’s given me a lot to think about.
You get it. I would gladly row a drift boat and teach my kids everything I know about steelhead without ever even thinking about wetting a line, but my hunting desire bucket simply isn't full, it isn't even close! And to be honest, one "big" hunt a year, really isn't working well to fill it. And I think that has as much to do with the struggles with the kids as anything.
 
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Panda Bear

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We take children from the village with us, depending on the child, starting around 5-6. We teach them, how to hunt, how to read the weather, land, rivers, animals as well as the behavior of the dogs ( how they react to different smells, noise, etc ) We teach them to respect the land and the animals, as we are just passing through and we must not destroy the land for future generations. We attempt to make it fun for them but to be honest we are more concerned about their education in/of the ice and forest.


You get it. I would gladly row a drift boat and teach my kids everything I know about steelhead without ever even thinking about wetting a line, but my hunting desire bucket simply isn't full, it isn't even close! And to be honest, one "big" hunt a year, really isn't working well to fill it. And I think that has as much to do with the struggles with the kids as anything.
Several who contributed have mentioned, the short time the children are in the home and the importance of spending time with them, regardless of what their interests are. April made a good point in her post by putting a number on it. She hunted 75 years, but raised kids and shared their ( kids ) dream, with them, for 15 years, which still left her with 60 years of hunting to fill her hunting bucket list.


Neffa I have 3 daughters who all took Hunter Safety as soon as they could read and keep both ends of a rifle off the ground. They have all been along on some day hunts and have friends who hunt. My oldest I got some awesome opportunities and she killed a deer and a pig her first hunting season. She no longer has any interest in hunting. The middle one said right off she wasn't interested in hunting mammals but was game to go after birds. She never really had success doing it and is more focused on getting into graduate school now. The youngest was a voracious companion before she could really do much of anything, but she never felt the fire to hunt much herself. She got a turkey last year but didn't want to go out this year. She does like shooting trap though.

Maybe I'm too intense for them when we go. But they do enjoy the camping/scouting trips. I just have to accept that. But I gave them the opportunities to learn to like it at a young age...

and now pictures because everyone likes cute kids...You would think they were gonna be INTENSE hunters, but they just didn't really appreciate it...

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Going through this currently. We have 4 daughters ( 6,8,12,14). The 14 year old has been hunting for 5 years now. She has never taken an animal, although she has been on the scope, safety off, animals in front of her ready to squeeze but always there is an issue. She is a great shot. I just think she really doesn't have an interest in harvesting anything. 12 year old harvested her first deer two seasons ago and can't wait to do it again. She didn't get an opportunity last year because we were trying to get her older sister a shot.

Our 9 year old wants to go this year as does the 6. Having 4 children in the blind is going to be one tough go. 2 is trying enough.

Me.... I haven't "buck" hunted since 2016. Since then I have spent all my time in the woods with the girls trying to get them opportunities whether with a crossbow or a rifle. I have taken my share of does ( as we rifle hunt a property during Missouri's doe season) but it is so much more about them for me now. I could care less if I shoot anything. Keeping it interesting for them is what I strive for now as I don't want them to lose that desire to do it. I also am an adult onset hunter so this is new territory for me. I grew up in a fishing family on Lake Erie. We were in the boat as soon as we could walk.

Unfortunately the oldest told me two weeks ago she doesn't want to make the trip this year. When I asked her to explain she basically confirmed my suspicions that she enjoyed the "trip" more than the actual trying to harvest. I told her that it didn't matter to me if she ever shot anything, I loved spending the time with her in the truck, late night gas station snacks, Pizza Ranch!!, telling bad Dad jokes, swearing... etc... She was glad I felt that way because last year we came home empty handed for the first time with no meat because she didn't pull the trigger and she felt bad. It didn't help that her younger sister kept saying over and over " I would have smoked her". haha. She still loves eating venison, loves to help skin out, cut up, etc... she just doesn't have any desire to shoot. Big Deal.

Now this year I actually get a little time to hunt by myself here in Indiana on public so I am looking forward to it, but in all honesty every time I am in the woods by myself ( last spring turkey hunting for example) I totally missed the kids being with me. Hunting by myself from 1996-2013 I became pretty much a one man show, but since then the kids are a part of my plan and it doesn't feel the same.

Just last night our 8 year old asked me if I would hike the Rockies with her. Anytime baby.. anytime.

Three Daughters and four daughters. You two fathers have more to worry about than whether your girls enjoy hunting or not--best of luck holding onto your sanity during their teenage years. BUT, when they hug you and tell you they love you and you say o.k. ( to whatever they ask ) their mothers will want to strangle you ;)
 

neffa3

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April made a good point in her post by putting a number on it. She hunted 75 years, but raised kids and shared their ( kids ) dream, with them, for 15 years, which still left her with 60 years of hunting to fill her hunting bucket list.
Yes, and while I respect April tremendously, there some differences between what she described and what I'm trying, yet failing to communicate.

When my kids are either out of the house or likely capable of doing the types of hunts I do, I'll be in my mid to late 40's. Not to knock on others out there, but I've already noticed that my time to function at a high level of physical ability is dwindling, I am certainly off my peak. No more are the back to back 30 mile days with a pack. My body simply doesn't recover like that. At the current rate of decline I'm feeling, I figure I'm looking at 10-ish years of really getting after it in my future, maybe less. There are certainly examples of people on HT that push that out another decade or more, but I'm less confident I'll fit into that category.
 

Panda Bear

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Please accept my apologizes for not fully understanding. My error. Everyones situation is different and it was my error not to factor that into my response.

You possibly find yourself in a situation unlike many here as your children will be out of the house a bit later than some others and therefore you will be almost 50 when they are gone, and you already feel a decline in your physical capabilities and therefore fear you will not be able to do what you will want to do-after they are gone.

In that case, and speaking only for myself, if I had some very specific hunts I wanted to do before I could not ( physically ). I would encompass those hunts into a family conversation and make it something the entire family would want you to do, even while the kids are still home. I would attend everything my kids were involved it, so when it came your time to leave for one of your bucket list hunts, they would be cheerleading you to go and anxiously be waiting for your story when you return, just like you did for them when they participated in something. If possible, I would take the entire family to base camp ( we do this all the time actually ) so that they can share the hunt with you without being on the hunt each day. If the wife, in my case husband, can not go, I take one of the grandparents, to be with the kids in camp. I did this on my last sheep hunt, as my husband had to fly by east, so a grandmother went to be with the children during the day while I was out hunting. ( however in my case, two of the three children wanted to go into the field with me )

Again my apologizes for not clearly understanding
 

elkmagnet

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Also, there are so many opportunities to simply experience nature, literally every weekend all year, and most evenings, that to draw the line between a desire to show my kids nature and the 10-day hunting season seems like an exaggeration. Some of you may not have been cyber stalking me enough to pick up that I take my kinds on all kids of outdoor stuff, we camp, hike almost every weekend, and just started doing river trips (day ones so far). I teach them about nature in general all the time. But there's something different about hunting... I'm struggling to communicate some of my angst on this topic.


You get it. I would gladly row a drift boat and teach my kids everything I know about steelhead without ever even thinking about wetting a line, but my hunting desire bucket simply isn't full, it isn't even close! And to be honest, one "big" hunt a year, really isn't working well to fill it. And I think that has as much to do with the struggles with the kids as anything.
This seems perfectly reasonable to me. Everyone should find a balance that fits the situation. Be selfish but also let your conscience be your guide.
 

wllm

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Yes, and while I respect April tremendously, there some differences between what she described and what I'm trying, yet failing to communicate.

When my kids are either out of the house or likely capable of doing the types of hunts I do, I'll be in my mid to late 40's. Not to knock on others out there, but I've already noticed that my time to function at a high level of physical ability is dwindling, I am certainly off my peak. No more are the back to back 30 mile days with a pack. My body simply doesn't recover like that. At the current rate of decline I'm feeling, I figure I'm looking at 10-ish years of really getting after it in my future, maybe less. There are certainly examples of people on HT that push that out another decade or more, but I'm less confident I'll fit into that category.
Kale 👍
 

geetar

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My dad was sort of a workaholic when I was a kid. He did take the time to take me fishing and hunting and I’m forever grateful for that. It changed my life and I have no idea who I’d be without it. For some reason he only seemed to kill deer when I wasn’t with him. It couldn’t have possibly been the noise I was making. 😂 When my kids both girls 2 and 4 currently get old enough to hunt I’ll let them make the decision whether or not they want to. Till then it’s fishing with them in the summer and me hunting in the spring and fall.
 

TOGIE

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i think i've brought this up before on HT...

neither of my parents hunted, but boy we spent a lot of time with my dad backpacking and trout fishing. there was a little hunting history in the family, plus a fair amount of wyoming roots that gave me a lot more exposure to guns and talk of hunting. regardless for some reason i showed an early and noticeable interest in hunting... probably by age 10. I would always watch whatever shit show was on sportsmans channel or outdoor channel, usually some deer being shot or arrowed on private land in texas, but i was enamored.

unfortunately my dad didn't know what to do, he took me to get hunters safety and bought me and himself a .22 to go shoot together, but we never went hunting. he later told me in the last few years that was because he had no idea what to do not being a hunter. he could've bought us deer or elk tags and gone out and tried but he was too scared - with his lack of hunting knowledge - of making it a bad experience and ruining it for me. he told me "I saw it in you and i just felt that you'd find hunting on your own at some point and figure it out if you were going to, but i had no great way to nurture it or teach you, so good or bad i just never took you out."

here i am, a 5th year adult onset hunter and i am obsessed, far more than all of my friends that grew up in colorado elk camps every fall since they could be there.

just seems to me like the reverse way of looking at it, in the sense that a kid will be a hunter or they won't. nurture it, show it to them, and they'll take or they won't take.

i do think that just my dad simply getting me hunters safety as a kid and taking the class with me, even with no real plans or ideas of how to get me out hunting, as small of a moment as that was, was monumental in me actually becoming a hunter. it also helped tremendously just growing up in an outdoorsy family.
 

2rocky

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1) Now add whisper fights, giggles, and crying in a random pattern and the connection isn't there.

2) Also, there are so many opportunities to simply experience nature, literally every weekend all year, and most evenings, that to draw the line between a desire to show my kids nature and the 10-day hunting season seems like an exaggeration. Some of you may not have been cyber stalking me enough to pick up that I take my kinds on all kids of outdoor stuff, we camp, hike almost every weekend, and just started doing river trips (day ones so far). I teach them about nature in general all the time. But there's something different about hunting... I'm struggling to communicate some of my angst on this topic.


3) You get it. I would gladly row a drift boat and teach my kids everything I know about steelhead without ever even thinking about wetting a line, but my hunting desire bucket simply isn't full, it isn't even close! And to be honest, one "big" hunt a year, really isn't working well to fill it. And I think that has as much to do with the struggles with the kids as anything.
1) I hear you on this. That's why the kids get the day hunts, and scouting trips. Low investment opportunities. You aren't MISSING opportunities to fill your bucket. It's a different bucket.

2) Yeah i'm not one of your social media bro's so I didn't realize this. I think we disdain what is too frequent or easy. Kids are the worst at this. When you have them with good stock, good dogs and easy access they don't value it as much. Balancing the suffering with the payoff is really tough, but with kids I try to maybe stack the deck in their favor while they are young.

3) There will come a time when one of your kids will match you in physical ability and drive. Identify that time as early as possible and make the most of the years you two are "in step". You have until then to do the "marginal" hunts and develop your skill set and build your system. I was in college when I got "in step" with my dad, but it was 10 years later that I was able to make the time and money commitment to go on out of state adventures with him. I only had about 10 years before I'd passed him up as his physical ability and drive declined. My bucket got nearly filled at an age younger than his probably started.
 

88man

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Didn't even think about this but it's 100% true. My parents did everything together. With few exceptions there was never a "not going" option.
The not going option only started about 15 years ago
 

rtraverdavis

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Yes, and while I respect April tremendously, there some differences between what she described and what I'm trying, yet failing to communicate.

When my kids are either out of the house or likely capable of doing the types of hunts I do, I'll be in my mid to late 40's. Not to knock on others out there, but I've already noticed that my time to function at a high level of physical ability is dwindling, I am certainly off my peak. No more are the back to back 30 mile days with a pack. My body simply doesn't recover like that. At the current rate of decline I'm feeling, I figure I'm looking at 10-ish years of really getting after it in my future, maybe less. There are certainly examples of people on HT that push that out another decade or more, but I'm less confident I'll fit into that category.
This, and having relatively little hunting experience and a giant desire for more is what it comes down to for me, and why I will likely keep big hunting trips to myself for quite a while. I’m 39. My kids are three and five. When they’re grown and out on their own I’ll be 55, at least. My dad’s body started to truly fall apart in his 50s, and I’m already having some problems with my knees and with arthritis.

I want very much to share hunting with my kids, but I also want to accomplish some difficult goals that I couldn’t with them along. I need to get while the gettin’s good. However, my kids are the center of my world. It’s frickin complicated. I’m picking up what you’re putting down, @neffa3
 

mdcrossbow

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Jacob with his 1st and 2nd bird
Big Va. Bird 26 pds 1.5" spurs and 12" beard
 

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Wind Gypsy

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Very interesting conversation.

The thought of my kids not liking the outdoors is terrifying.

My dad didn't want to let me play hockey, it interfered with hunting/fishing time. Mom saw it different. Parents divorced at 5. Competitive hockey gave me so much, my best friends, work ethic, health, social/team skills, and so many great memories. I didn't realize until recently how much my parents sacrificed in time and $ for me to see that benefit.
 

mdcrossbow

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Very interesting conversation.

The thought of my kids not liking the outdoors is terrifying.

My dad didn't want to let me play hockey, it interfered with hunting/fishing time. Mom saw it different. Parents divorced at 5. Competitive hockey gave me so much, my best friends, work ethic, health, social/team skills, and so many great memories. I didn't realize until recently how much my parents sacrificed in time and $ for me to see that benefit.
My dad was not a hunter and worked his butt off to provide. I had to teach myself with the help of a good friend older brother.
My youngest son Jacob started at a military High School in 9th grade 3 hours from home. My two older boys I coached them in Baseball and soccer and we hunted & fished a lot but Jake I spent my weekends going to his games and during hunting seasons or fishing I was very lucky to squire a farm to take him out on the weekends. When it comes to our kids I'd like to think the general thought is that we are no longer hunting fishing for our own piece but we become fathers , mentors for our kids and once their on their own we have a life long buddy ,a friend & partner and a relationship that can not be broken.
 

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