Gabriel and Walt Seitz with Walt’s firearm doe.
by Shaun McKeon, MUCC Education Director
With families getting together for Thanksgiving this week and it being the last weekend for firearm deer season in Michigan now is the perfect time to make some memories together. Taking your kids hunting is a special time when you can bond with them and hopefully share with them for years to come.
One way to keep kids involved is to make hunting fun. If you want someone to understand and enjoy the outdoors, it is important that you take them hunting and teach them about wildlife and wild places while you are in the wild. Having a child who wants to go hunting rather than one who you have to drag out with you can make a big difference in their long term enjoyment of the sport.
There are several ways you can make hunting fun for the kids; it’s about creating an experience that goes beyond bringing a deer back or not. Most of us spend a lot of time waiting for a deer to come in and this waiting time can be a great opportunity to connect with your kids.
While I was at camp this summer I had some time to talk with young hunters and asked them what they did in the blind to keep from getting bored while they were out on a hunt. This list is a few of the things they came up with and what they considered fun when there wasn’t much action going on.
- Learning about nature
- Coloring or drawing pictures of the natural environment they are seeing
- Taking pictures of “looking cool in their camo”
- Practicing with game calls
- Snacking on junk food
- Doing a small puzzle
- Trying to practice wildlife identification with index cards
- Learning bird calls
- Just being with family
- Playing cards in the blind
- Playing a hunting game on an electronic device (with the sound off)
One thing the kids told me that it was not fun was when he were told to “Sit down, be quiet and don’t move.” They said, “we know that patience is important and that if you aren’t quiet the deer won’t come, but they also said they were just kids and they get bored easily.” So keep in mind that kids get antsy.
Most of the time if the kid gets to spend time with people they like and learn a little something, the day was probably fun and a success. So take advantage of the holiday weekend and take a youth hunting and make sure to make it fun for them. It’s not just about shooting a deer, rather it is about painting faces, learning about nature, and having fun in the woods.
That fun part is what will keep them coming back.