According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, which was conducted in 2016, an estimated 11.5 million people (aged 16 and older) hunted in the United States. As modern life takes hold, it is entirely possible that the art of hunting will continue to be lost over time. Traditionally it has been the Father’s responsibility to teach this skill to his children, along with all the responsibilities that comes with it: firearm usage and safety, butchering the carcass, and understanding all of the regulations that the hunter is responsible for. But as a Father, if you never learned yourself but want to get into hunting for you or your child’s sake, we want to recommend these 10 tips for getting into the sport.
1. Learn the regulations: Familiarize yourself with the hunting regulations in your area. Each jurisdiction may have specific rules regarding licenses, seasons, bag limits, and firearm requirements. Contact your local wildlife agency or visit their website for information.
2. Take a hunter education course: Enroll yourself and your son in a hunter education course. These courses cover essential topics such as firearm safety, hunting ethics, wildlife identification, and hunting techniques. Many states require completion of a hunter education course before issuing hunting licenses.
3. Choose a suitable hunting location: Research hunting areas near you and find one that is appropriate for your skill level and the game you intend to hunt. Look for public lands or private properties that allow hunting. Seek recommendations from experienced hunters or join local hunting clubs or organizations that can offer guidance.
4. Acquire necessary equipment: Invest in the essential hunting gear such as firearms, ammunition, appropriate clothing (including blaze orange for safety), boots, binoculars, hunting knives, and other accessories. Consult experienced hunters or sporting goods stores for recommendations on suitable equipment.
5. Practice firearm safety: If you plan to use firearms while hunting, ensure that both you and your son receive proper firearm safety training. Teach your son the importance of handling firearms responsibly and always follow safety protocols.
6. Learn hunting techniques: Research and familiarize yourself with hunting techniques specific to the game you intend to pursue. Learn about tracking, scouting, calling, and shot placement. Consider reading books, watching instructional videos, or joining online hunting communities to gain insights from experienced hunters.
7. Seek guidance from experienced hunters: Reach out to experienced hunters in your community who can mentor and guide you. They can provide valuable insights, share their experiences, and accompany you on your hunting trips to ensure safety and success.
8. Start with small game or guided hunts: Begin your hunting journey with small game such as rabbits, squirrels, or birds. These hunts often require less specialized equipment and can be a good way to introduce your son to the basic principles of hunting. Alternatively, consider hiring a professional guide for a guided hunt to enhance your chances of success and learn from their expertise.
9. Emphasize safety and ethics: Instill in your son the importance of safety, respect for wildlife, and ethical hunting practices. Teach him to follow hunting regulations, to take clean and ethical shots, and to treat the animals harvested with respect.
10. Enjoy the experience: Remember that hunting is not only about harvesting game but also about connecting with nature, spending quality time with your son, and creating lasting memories. Embrace the adventure and enjoy the experience together.
Teaching our kids how to take care of themselves and the environment around them is one of our biggest responsibilities. Hunting and learning proper stewardship for our natural resources is a great way for them to know how to navigate this world even when we are gone. Have fun and stay safe out there, and go make some incredible memories.