The hunting trip preparations can begin once children receive proper training on gun safety and outdoor survival. Childhood hunting experiences are the best way to create the next generation of hunters and outdoor adventurers. A comfortable and happy first experience is the easiest way to encourage children to want to continue. Here are some ways to make sure the first experience is a good one.
Start Children Early
Children can hunt alone as early as the age of ten in some states, but most states require children to hunt with an adult until they reach the age of 16 or older. Before they are old enough for a hunting license, children can still join a hunt as a companion to their parents or other responsible adults.
Early exposure helps children to feel comfortable in the wilderness and helps to pass on the family tradition of hunting. The 2016 U.S. Census Bureau National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation revealed that around 1.4 million children between the ages of 6 and 15 years old hunt each year.
Prepare for Comfort
The right clothing is necessary to keep children comfortable so they remain happy and attentive. Hunting season takes place during chilly and damp months, so include layers of breathable and quick-drying clothing. Make certain the clothes chosen for these trips are orange and camo so each layer works as effectively in the field as the top layer does.
Waterproof boots, thick socks, and long underwear help to stay warm and dry. Remember to include a hat, scarf, and rain gear as well as two pairs of gloves. Spare gloves keep hands dry if a first pair gets wet, but they also are a backup in case your child loses one of their initial pairs (as children often will).
Prepare for a range of weather options. Remember that children may ignore the weather longer than adults and seem unaffected by the cold, but they are more at risk of frostbite than adults. Children lose heat through their skin faster than adults, and windy and damp weather can make the problems happen sooner than expected.
Have Safety Gear
Include adequate water for the day, and an extra bottle or water purifier just in case. Have the child carry a bag with a survival blanket, knife, and flashlight. They need to have some survival items with them for protection in case they somehow become separated from the adults. A survival whistle is a good attention-getting tool for a child too young to carry a rifle.
A first aid kit is important for any journey into nature, but especially so with children. An adult may ignore a small cut or a skinned knee, but kids do not ignore any injuries. Include in the kit an antibiotic cream, a package of Band-Aids, and a pair of tweezers. Have a package of antibacterial wipes to clean any injured area and some child-safe pain relievers.
Include Extra Items
Pack hand warmers, a seat cushion, and food. Comfortable children are much more enjoyable hunting partners than hungry and cranky kids. Adults may normally avoid food during their hunts because of the food odor or the noise made by eating, but children need snacks. Good choices include a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, crackers, or granola and fruit.
Control the noises by removing any pre-packed items from their wrappings and place them in much quieter plastic baggies. A thermos of warm cocoa can also distract them from the cold and be more satisfying than just washing their snack or lunch down with water.
Hunting with children takes patience, time, and the right gear for safety. Children grow into professional hunters as they gain experience and maturity. Make the first trip comfortable to encourage their passion. Visit Over Under Clothing to start shopping. We offer an array of outdoor clothing and gear for adults and kids.