Hunting is a family tradition that often spans generations.
For a son or daughter, there is nothing like spending time with grandparents, parents, siblings and cousins. It’s a great feeling to finally be old enough to participate in the hunt. Kids will often sit around the dinner table during the holidays listening to hunting stories from family members. The excitement to join in builds and builds over the years until the kid is finally old enough to be part of the hunting experience.
If this situation describes the young people in your life then it might be time to consider introducing them to hunting. For the lifetime pheasant hunter it might be a dream to take a child out hunting to share in the experience.
There are things to prepare for, though, as you think about heading out to the field. You likely have some great memories from the first time you went out hunting.
Here are some additional suggestions on how to make sure the young pheasant hunter in your life shares in your passion for their lifetime.
What Age to Start
The legal hunting age for small game varies by state and region. Usually the age when most young pheasant hunters can get out in the field is around
age 8 to 12. It’s also best to think about the particular hunter you’ll be taking in the woods. There are some kids that might be ready when they are 8 and others might need a few extra years to mature and grow before they are ready.
You’ll have to be subjective with the young hunter in your life. There is no rush to get them out in the field if they are not ready. It will be more difficult if they are eager, but use your best judgment.
For the eager young hunter it might be best to introduce them to hunting in other ways besides just harvesting. This can be done at younger ages.
How to Introduce Kids to Hunting
It’s often a great experience for kids to head out to the woods with mom or dad. The first time out in the woods is really something special for kids.
Dad can bring along a .22 rifle and maybe chase after a few squirrels or rabbits. This is a great way to get kids exposed to the woods and the field. This exposure should be about getting out in nature and understanding the very basics of hunting.
Look for lessons to teach along the way. Introduce the kids to areas where pheasants might be hiding and making their home. This is an interesting part of the hunt that can be taught at a very early age and it really can come in handy for the entire lifetime of the young pheasant hunter.
Another way to introduce kids to pheasant hunting would be to introduce them to the birds. When you go out and take a few birds yourself make the kids part of the dressing process. You can let your kids hold the birds and see what they look and feel like. It’s a good way to get them interested in this part of the hunt without actually being part of the harvest in the field.
Before taking a young hunter out for a pheasant hunt the first time there are a couple items to discuss.
How to Discuss Safety
Safety is something all young hunters need to learn. Hunter’s Safety courses are designed to give young hunters and even experienced hunters the tools they need for safe hunting. However, there needs to be safety instruction from the adult hunter as well.
Teaching comes from telling the young hunter how to do things in the field to make sure they’re safe for themselves and those around, but even more than that’s it’s important to practice safe hunting yourself.
The basic rules of handling firearms like pointing the muzzle in a safe direction at all times need to be followed. Hold your gun pointed toward the ground and away from any other hunters when you’re hunting with a young hunter.
Be careful with where you’re walking to avoid missteps and falls. These are often an area where hunters can hurt themselves and other hunters. Your careful pace will rub off on the young hunter you’re with because they tend to be hasty and excited when they are first out in the field.
When showing the young hunter how to handle a shotgun be sure to always check that the gun is not loaded before doing anything else. It’s a good habit to get into yourself and being extra careful about it will show the young hunter how to form good habits.
A final point about safety is hearing. Many young hunters can develop a fear of the gunshot and that can lead to dangerous situations. Be sure to practice safe hearing protection habits when practicing to make sure the young hunter knows that their hearing is important. It’s an area often overlooked by mature hunters.
Teaching Good Practice Habits
Practice always makes perfect. It’s a cliche, but it’s something that is true. Take time to practice yourself and establish a good example for your young hunter. Not only will the practice allow you both to get better at shooting, but it will give you more time together.
Plus, the practice you take will lead to more confidence and better shooting in the field. This is good for you and for the pheasants you’re hunting. It’s best to make as many of the shots clean and safe as possible.
You can use the local Rod & Gun Club or trap shooting range. you can even go to your local public access area and throw a few practice clays in the air. Find a place where it’s safe and fun for practice and add in a few challenging tasks to make it interesting for the young hunter.
Showing Respect and Maturity
Young hunters will have youthful exuberance about hunting. This is what makes hunting great, but as the model hunter for them you’ll want to practice respectful and maturity while hunting.
When you harvest a pheasant be sure to show it respect. Don’t treat the bird badly after the kill. Use it for educational pieces and talk of the bird like it’s a vital part of life. This will show the young hunter that the bird is not something that is just for shooting. It’s a vital part of nature.
How to Discuss Group Hunting and Solo Hunting
A final area to discuss with your young hunter is the art of hunting alone and with a group. So much of hunting is about enjoying it either alone or with other friends and family.
is a unique thing for groups. Take the young hunter out hunting with you and discuss the various aspects of hunting in groups. Show them how they should react if birds flush in certain directions. Quiz them on if they would shoot if a bird flew up and went to the left or to the right. Talk about pacing and how the young hunter needs to stay back with the group while walking through a field.
Also talk about the importance of safety for solo hunting. Show them areas on the ground that can surprise and lead to falls. The more the young hunter knows about these types of hunts the more confidence they’ll have when they go hunting.
The entire education should be fun and positive. Keep things entertaining and challenging for the young hunter and they’ll be on their way to a lifetime of pheasant hunting happiness.
Related Articles on GameBirdHunts.com
Introducing Kids to Pheasant Hunting
Taking a Kid Hunting For the First Time
Pheasant Hunting Tips for Beginners