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tunrevir

Thoughts on taking a 10-11 year old hunting this fall?

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Just wondering how many folks are going to take a 10 or 11 y.o. out to hunt deer for the first time this fall? I see they can legally hunt with an adult mentor and intend on taking my 10 y.o. daughter out. She has been sitting on stand with her grandfather and I for the past three seasons and is excited at the prospect of hunting "for real" this year. Some background from the past three years. We gave her a bb gun to carry with her for the past three seasons working on treating the gun as if it was loaded and muzzle safety at all times. We discussed the procedures for loading and unloading the weapon and to treat all guns as if they are loaded. We talked to her about knowing her target, the background and making sure of her target before ever putting her finger on the trigger. It has been a great experience having her on stand with us. She has been target shooting for the past two years with her grandfather and I and has become adept in her shot placement out to 40 yards. I am excited to have the opportunity to mentor her and hunt with her on her first hunt. When she turns twelve we will be taking the firearms safety course together. Anyone else going this route? Any tips or pointers you'd like to share? My biggest has been to make sure there is an ample supply of snacks and something to drink while on stand as well as bringing along extra warm clothing and handwarmers to ensure they are warm and comfortable on stand. That goes a long ways towards having a good experience.

Tunrevir~

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I don't have any kids of my own, but I do remember the days of going out to the deer stand (straw bale ground blind) with my dad. I absolutely loved it. Like yourself, I got to bring the pellet gun with, cased of course, just like dads gun! I went out with him as far back as i could remember, 7 or 8. and my favorite part of the hunt, other than seeing deer, was getting to have some cookies and hot chocolate at about nine in the morning, while nearly wetting myself with the excitement of seeing a buck walk out into the field!

So yes, I strongly encourage bringing the youngins out with you as early as possible, but like you mentioned, make sure it will be comfortable and enjoyable for them. if they want to leave 1 hour after sitting there, i'd leave, so they don't get too bored and lose interest.

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I started all the kids out with pellet guns at 8 and .22 at 10 and then .243 at 12. They started hunting at 14. We spent alot of time on the range bench rest shooting. At 10 they were with me hunting and able to gut em that year. They all ate antelope & deer all thier lives.

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Im waiting for my wife to become comfortable with my 11yr old daughter to go hunting. We have begun shooting pellets, .22s, and bows, just bought "her" a 20 guage this summer. Sweet grouse gun. Shes taking firearms safety this fall. we also spend a lot of time discussing safety, animals, habitat, and the fact that hunting involves killing. No sugar coating it sometimes animals are wounded and do not die on impact.

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Earlier the better in my opinion. Like others said, keep it interesting for them.

I shot my first duck when I was 8 years old with a .410.

It was a perfect wood duck that my dad had mounted for me. The cat chewed it to pieces the very first night I got the mount home though. mad

Shot my first cat at age 8... j/k smirk

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thats weird, i have a very similar story. I shot my first duck when i was young as well. .410 single shot. it was a drake woody, and my dad had it mounted for me. a month after having the mount back, my moms pet bird, that got to fly around the house once in a while, landed on the mount, and with no one paying attention, chewed the bill off the duck! sorry to get off topic, but it was a story i had to tell with the other one being told!

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hard question to answer, not knowing the kid, snacks and more snacks little people can pack it away when they get bored, don't make it a chore, light caliber rifle that she has shot with a lot. I think it is a good thing to shoot a close to life size picture target so they can learn bullet placement (aint no orange dots on deer). bird feeder off the side of the blind to keep an interest going ( baiting laws) mostly don't talk down to them treat them like one of your buds... the one you always have to pay for and baby sit we all have 1 or 2 of them.

Mostly let em shoot.

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On the subject of keeping them warm I found it works great to pack a sleeping bag with if they get cold have them slide into it it's cheaper then a heated boady suit that they will out grow by the next season.

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my son has been duck hunting since he was 9yrs old and hes now 13 teen and I 've had him out several times deer hunting but last season was his first to carry the gun althou he did get to shoot at a deer he had a blast. and keeps telling me that he just cant wait for duck hunting to start and I guess neither can I. I think the sooner you get kids involed the better just make it as comfortable as possibleand sooner than you think they'll be taking you hunting.

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You're well on the right track. The real issue may be the going to the bathroom thing. I am positive my wife won't come out because of it, and just went through 20 minutes of foolishness with a co-worker who had to go while out on the pontoon - and the boat has a toilet! If you're more than 10 minutes from a place where she can go you're going to have to deal with it. Work that out and I am sure you'll have a great time.

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I have no problem taking the kids hunting. My oldest daughter is ten and has been duck hunting with me since she was at least three and deer hunting a couple times a season since she was five. She started the shooting part of duck hunting with a BB gun at age six and a shotgun at age seven. I bought her own shotgun when she was eight and it was a little early for the recoil but she is fine with it now and has been getting her own ducks in flight the last two years. She is also involved in an airgun and small bore rifle club and shooting about three inch groups at a hundred yards with open sights.

The suggestions I have would be bring a sleeping bag as mentioned earlier, snacks, book, gameboy, nintendo etc, their own binoculars, shooting sticks/rest and a two person stand or ground blind. I have had my daughter in some of my tree stands and she was shaking like a leaf climbing up my climbing sticks. She was much more comfortable in a two person stand and I was much more comfortable with it as well.

Start them early and hopefully they will stay hooked for life.

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If you're going to put a kid up in a tree stand you should have a safety harness on her/him - maybe just like the one you have one.

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I think every kid is different, so don't let the age determine when they are ready, let the kid tell you. When my son was 8 we tried some muzzleloader shooting at the range, and it was too much for him. At 9 it was completely different, and now he handles it just fine. Don't know whether or not Minnesota has a youth season, but if so, that's a great opportunity to get kids out hunting and focus totally on them getting a shot. I can tell you from experience, when your son or daughter gets their first deer, it'll be at the top of the heap in your hunting memories and experiences...

HunterDad.jpg

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NWBuck, that is a great photo, very tastefully done and it shows the excitement of the moment. My daughter is getting ready each day and I can tell she is excited because she stole my outdoorlife to read last night and has been asking to go to the range and shoot. My 8 y.o. son has been asking to go this year and sit on stand, so he will begin with the bb gun, family gunsafety talk and will switch off with my father-in-law and myself when sitting on stand this year. Gonna be a great season! Great suggestions and insight folks keep them coming.

Tunrevir~

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Hoping to take my 11 year-old. He's hunted some, but not a lot & is very luke warm about it. Thinking he'll probably do an evening gun sit or two, but don't think he'll go for opening morning. Really wishing he would, but it doesn't work to force them.

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The younger you expose a child to hunting the better. You may want to do it in moderation though, depending on their interest. My son shot his first deer in stand with me at age 9. Has LOVED it ever since.

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I know our girls weren't ready at 10 or 11 but they're hunting now. Our oldest is 19 and has hunted deer and some pheasant with me for about 5 years. She has taken a couple deer and her first rooster was very nice and graces her bedroom wall.

Our youngest just turned 16. She wanted to bowhunt last year and practiced a decent amount but I never felt she was ready enough. She came with on a few hunts and sat in the stand with me. She's notorious for having a short attention span.

Well, she still wants to go so we just got the bow checked out for fit and set her up with new Bemans, Rage 40KE's, and a couple Easton lighted nocks. She can't complain she doesn't have the right stuff at least.

I think she'll get hooked on it. I put her in the draw for the youth hunt at Ripley. If we get in, I think she'll at least have an opportunity if she wants to take it. She claims she's gonna get the biggest buck ever this year!

Sure you will, dear..... smile

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My daughter turned 11 in June and she's been grouse hunting the last couple of years. Last fall was her first Youth Waterfowl Day and she shot a hen mallard out of the air w/ a single shot .410. She shot a couple more mallards during regular duck season. She rifle hunted and passed up some does and fawns and ended up missing a small buck w/ her .243. It was the best fall I've had hunting.

Keep them warm and dry. Hot Hands packets are a must. They work great in boots, choppers/gloves, and in between a layer or two of shirts on the lower back.

Don't forget the snacks, bug dope, TP, and maybe a book, magazine, or hand held video game. Sound off of course.

Make it fun and know when to say when! Don't take them out on an all day sit unless you know they're up for it. A couple hours tops for starters.

Let them use the calls and show them how to use them. Let them help w/ stand/blind placement and decoy placement.

A ground blind and a heater are the way to go when the temps get cold for deer hunting.

Make sure they get enough shooting practice in. Have them use a bipod or tripod, it will help w/ accuracy. Know their comfort zone for shooting distances.

Let them decide whether or not they want to shoot at an animal or not. As much as we want our child to get an animal, let them make that decision to pull the trigger.

Brian

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For the last 2 years are group has taken 3 young kids with us: the 2 most important items to focus on are saftey and warmth. We use two man ladder stands with guardrails and centrally placed my wheelhouse where they could easily and safely walk to on thier own to rest and warm up. I would recomend not going out as early as you normally would and don't expect them to last more than 1 hour after sunrise at that age. Dependng on your priorities you will probably be better off leaving your own gun at home if they get a deer you will not even care if you persnally ever take a shot or not

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I thought I'd follow up on this post from earlier this year. My daughter went hunting in Wisc. for the early youth season that occurred Oct 10-11th. She hunted with her grandfather who was nice enough to take video footage of the hunt from start to finish for me as I was in Colorado elk hunting. She was able to harvest a nice mature doe on Saturday evening for her first deer ever. Not only did she harvest a doe, but she made a perfect shot taking out the top of the heart! She tracked it with her Grandfather and followed the blood trail through the woods to her first deer ever. Grandpa was nice enough to gut it for her but she did have to assist with holding the legs for him. Unfortunately, the pics that they had after the fact were a bit bloody so I will not post pics. I do want to thank all of you for your tips and advice. We will be hunting together once the regular firearms season opens in November. I am really looking foreward to that!

Tunrevir~

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First of all I think it is great how parents get their children involved with hunting at an early age. I was also one of those kids sitting with my dad in the deer stand and duck blind at the age of 5 with a bb gun.

One thing that is different now is the age of being able to hunt. At that time the hunting age for big game was 13 and for small game was 11. They also both reguired gun safety!

Unless I am wrong are kids now able to hunt without taking gun safety? Maybe its just the youth hunt?

SO I guess I will be the first person to say it. IMO, gun safety is key and kids should take it before being able to hunt. If they can hunt at 10yrs then make gun safety available at 10 and not 12. We don't let kids drive a car without a permit or a license, do we? If your kids are that excited to hunt it shouldn't be a problem to have them wait acouple of years untill formal training.

This is just my opinion. At that age, to me, it was fun just being involved in the hunt even though I was unable to shoot.

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I agree with you that 10 y.o.'s should be able to take the hunters safety course before they hunt. My daughter has been sitting on stand with us for the past three years while we hunt but she has been carrying a wooden gun for those outings. We discussed and worked with her on safe firearm handling and go through the rules before the season each time we go afield. In this particular hunt, it was a youth mentor hunt where the adult mentor carries the gun, retrieves the gun into the stand, loads the gun and then hands the gun to the youth prior to the shot. They get to aim and shoot and after the shot the adult takes the rifle back, makes sure it is safe and or unloaded, lowers down out of the stand and carries it back in from the field. We also practiced a preshot routine while target shooting the gun of her saying, "target safe, background safe, safety off, fire, safety on." We went through this routine with each round she fired at the range. Might be overkill for some but I want her to go through a set routine before and after every shot to ensure a safe routine and imbed this safe routine into her hunting for when she finally gets to sit by herself.

Tunrevir~

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I have taught hunters safety for a number of years. I have had many kids 10 and younger with decent judgement, and many 12 year olds I would not let out of my reach with a gun. Hunters safety has little to do with how safe a kid is out in the woods. A parent needs to mentor their kids no matter the age, and only let them hunt if they prove they are mature enough. Easier to stay with them on the hunt then to burry them or another member of the family/group.

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Well... I took my 3 year old with last year for one afternoon sit in an enclosed tower and we had a blast. We didn't see anything, but like he said "Dad, we almost seen one!" This fall he has been reminding me everyday when he sees leaves turning orange and them on the ground..."Dad it's almost hunting time." Do I know he will want to hunt later in life? No. Do I know he will be a safe and dedicated sportsman? No. But I do know that I took him ONCE and he wants to go again. My point is.... if you get them out early and give them a try I think odds are pretty good that they will become a better sportsman/woman. Like was mentioned above... a parent needs to mentor their kids no matter the age and only let them hunt if they prove they are mature enough

Best of luck to all of you and your kids this season. Have fun and be safe!

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