There’s never been a more important time than now for introducing a child to hunting. The future of our hunting heritage relies on how well we share our passion for hunting and the outdoors to the next generation. Regardless of whether it’s your own child, grandson, niece, nephew, or neighbor, we need to get more kids in the woods and on the hunt. But hunting with kids can be tough. Having the right gear is of the utmost importance. The proper equipment can make or break your child’s success in the deer woods. To help you in your journey, we offer a look at some of the best gear for deer hunting with kids.
One thing I learned early on in my career of teaching kids to hunt is that there are better options than the old-school shooting sticks of the past. A shooting stick gives your child a rest to prop their gun on, but they’ve still have a lot to handle in the way of stability on the back end. That’s why I like a gun rest that completely supports the gun for younger shooters. Options like the Caldwell Field Pod and Fourth Arrow Final Rest work more like a gun vice, completely holding the entire gun. All your child has to do is aim and squeeze the trigger. Don’t miss out on this one. A solid gun support will make the difference in success or frustration for your child.
A solid gun support like this Caldwell Field Pod are a great way to help youngsters as they start their hunting career.
Every kid wants his or her own calls. Sure, you can offer them yours, but it’s not the same. They need their own calls. It’s a rite of passage for them. They can learn a lot from their efforts and attempts with their own calls. Learning to call from an early age will help them build confidence and success from the start. Better yet, deer hunting calls are easy to use. Kids can quickly master a grunt call, can call and even the sound of rattling antlers.
Give your child their own calls and watch their interest and excitement for the hunt grow.
One of the single greatest concerns you should have for your child, beyond their safety, is the comfort of their feet. Nothing ruins a hunt quicker than your child getting cold. And nothing grows colder, quicker, than their feet. Don’t blow it here! Be sure you have the proper footwear to help keep their feet stay warm and dry. My kids wear LaCrosse boots because they keep their feet warm and dry, regardless of what kind of mess we find ourselves hunting in throughout the season.
Having boots and apparel that fit your child will go a long way towards their comfort and success.
Hunting Apparel That Fits
As much as we like the idea of passing down our hunting gear and garments from yesteryear, rarely does it suffice for the youngest of kids. Sure, the oversized, blaze orange, hunting vest you wore when you killed your first deer looks cute on your kid. But it’s not really functional when they’re tripping over it and dragging it through the mud because it’s too big. Oversized clothes will come back to bite you. It’s hard to shoot with baggy sleeves or an oversized beanie. Kids struggle to walk when they’re wearing britches that are 5 sizes too big. Get them the hunting apparel they need to stay confident and comfortable when they are with you in the woods on the hunt. Companies like Sitka Gear and NOMAD offer some great youth-sized garment options that are rugged and dependable, yet really comfortable.
Proper Fitting Gun
Having a proper fitting gun was once a real struggle when hunting with kids, but not anymore. Thanks to designs like the Mossberg Super Bantam Patriot, you can now set your child up with a deer rifle they can grow with. The spacer system allows you to increase the length of pull by 1″ when the shorter stock is outgrown, so no more hack jobs as you try to shorten or lengthen your adult-sized gun to fit your child. Get them the gun that fits and they’ll be hunting with confidence this season.
The ground blind is God’s gift to anyone that hunts with kids. The blind may be big and bulky to carry, but they are worth their weight in gold when it comes to hunting with the kiddos. Why? Ground blinds shield your child from the weather. Rain, sleet, snow and winds are the norm during hunting season. Any of which will make your child want to hustle back to the house – unless they are tucked into the security of a ground blind. You can run a small heater in the blind and stay toasty warm, even with minimal layers and insulation. The blind also hides the excessive movement that comes from kids. I can’t stress enough the importance of utilizing a portable ground blind like the Primos Double Bull blinds when hunting with your child this season.
A ground blind is a great way to keep your kids comfortable and conceal their excessive movement.
As mentioned above, a heater added to your hunting blind will turn a frigid experience into a cozy day in the deer woods. You’ll have to lay aside your tough-guy mentality for this one, but just remember, if they’re not comfortable and happy – they probably won’t want to be hunting. Don’t be afraid to use other tools to bring heat to your hunt. Stock up on Hot Hands for their pockets, heated socks for their feet, hot chocolate, and even a blanket to throw around them if things get tough. Keeping your child warm is the key.
Portable heaters are a great way to keep your child comfortable and focused on the hunt.
Quality hearing protection is often overlooked. Most hunters don’t think about protecting their ears until it’s too late. Exposing your child to intense noise, particularly from the confines of a deer blind or shooting house, can do significant damage to your child’s hearing. Don’t be guilty of missing this one. Make sure your child has adequate protection for their ears, whether on the range or in the woods. I like the muffs from Walker’s Game Ear for the fact that they amplify soft sounds and whispers, yet block out high-decibel sounds that cause hearing loss. They are the perfect combination for parents needing to whisper instructions to their child prior to the shot, yet still, provide hearing protection from the gun blast.
Be sure to have earmuffs on your gear list to protect your child from permanent hearing damage.
Don’t ever let your child climb into a treestand without wearing a safety harness. My boys started hunting from a treestand this year and my #1 rule for them is that they can’t climb up without being in a harness that’s anchored to a LifeLine from the ground up. Companies like Hunter Safety System offer youth-sized safety harnesses to protect young hunters. But the harness alone won’t cut it. Most accidents happen on the ascent or descent in and out of the treestand. The LifeLine system allows them to be anchored to a rope to prevent a fall from their first step off the ground.
Never let your child climb a treestand without being anchored to a LifeLine and fall restraint system.
The right gear for your young hunter can make or break their first hunting experience!
Be sure to have the right gear to help them hunt with confidence this season. Their confidence will lead to greater success as they begin their hunting journey.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make new memories with your child this season. Be safe. Shoot straight.