Why You Should Take Your Kids Hunting

Why You Should Take Your Kids Hunting

My name is Peyton Elenbaas and I’ve been hunting with my dad since I was 10 years old. I’m 19 now and I still enjoy hunting just as much, if not more, than I did when I first started and I owe that to my dad. He took me out when I was old enough to sit quietly in a blind. But I was 10… so I wasn’t that quiet. But he took me anyway and now even as a young adult, I’d still rather go hunting with my dad than sit by myself. We’ve created quite the bond through all the time we’ve spent driving out to the property, preparing for the hunt, having conversations through whispers in the blind, harvesting deer together, and planning our future hunting expeditions. My hope in writing this is that some parent, grandparent, relative, or friend will introduce a young child to the joys of spending time outdoors with the people they love.

 Why Should You Take Your Children Hunting?

If your child’s experience is anything like mine, they will learn a lot, bond with whoever is taking them, and have a better understanding of how to be responsible and respectful. My dad and I spent many hours together outside, and it has become one of my favorite memories from childhood. It shaped me in ways I wouldn’t have expected, and ways my dad probably wouldn’t have expected either. Spending time in nature leads people to be respectful of their surroundings. Since hunting with my dad, I find myself to be much more aware of what’s going on around me. My eye naturally gravitates toward any movement because when we are hunting, we are always scanning the landscape for any little movement. This habit translates to everyday life.  Now I’m even more conscious of my surroundings whether it’s grocery shopping and looking out for who’s around me, driving my car and paying attention to little details on the side of the road, or going out with my friends and keeping an eye on the people around us. Hunting has trained my eye to look for the small things that maybe other people wouldn’t notice.

 Is It Okay For A Child To Handle A Firearm?

Using a firearm takes patience and control. Understanding how firearms work will teach a kid responsibility. In Michigan, a child from ages 10 to 16 who wants to hunt must purchase a Junior Hunting License. They are not required to take the hunter’s safety course, but it’s strongly encouraged. After they turn 17, they are required to take the hunter’s safety course to get a regular hunting license. This course teaches kids how to properly handle firearms, allows them to understand the dangers of using firearms unsafely, and gives them hunting tips and techniques, wildlife identification and basic first aid. Teaching a child these valuable lessons can provide a safe, ethical, and fun hunting experience.

 Teaching Ethical And Responsible Ways

The first time my dad shot a deer while I was hunting with him, I began to understand how to do it respectfully. After my dad shot the deer, he thanked God for allowing us to take one of His animals to put food on our table. He showed me how to handle the deer respectfully and how and where to dispose of the parts of the deer we were not going to use. After this experience and many others like it, I understood the respect these animals and land deserve. It allowed me to be conscious of my place in nature and try my best not to disturb it in unnecessary ways.

 What’s In It For The Parents?

There is a lot to learn from the outdoors as a young kid but there can also be a lot to learn as the parent or relative who takes the time to indulge children in the things they enjoy. As many parents have said before, there is no parenting handbook. Spending quality time with your child can make all the difference. My dad and I had such great bonding moments in our time together. One moment I will never forget was when we were hunting in a bean field together. We were bored because there was not one animal in sight. But it was a beautiful night, and we were talking and laughing in this bean field – maybe that’s why we didn’t see any deer that night? I got bored so I began flicking beans at him. For some reason, I had great accuracy and hit him every time. We were laughing and laughing but trying to be quiet, so it was more like wheezing. My dad usually films us hunting together so we had the camera set up to record us. I hit the camera directly in the lens and we burst out laughing again. Even the not-so-successful hunts always seemed successful to us because we got to spend time together and have fun. Our silly little conversations could turn into meaningful conversations in a matter of seconds. In some instances, we didn’t even have to communicate to understand how to work together. We began to understand each other well enough that I could help him out with something without even being asked and he could do the same for me. Parents can learn a lot about their children just by doing something they love together.

 What Are Other Ways To Spend Time Together?

Spending quality time together doesn’t necessarily mean hunting all the time. This could turn into going on hikes, fishing, kayaking, boating, and many other activities. The idea is finding something to do together that brings you both joy and instilling core values in young children. So, Leap Outdoors with your kids! ;)

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