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#5462463 - 12/07/14 09:35 AM advice on starting my son hunting
longhorn3454 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 225
Alright I'm looking for a little advice from some of you parents who have been through this process or are going through it now. My 7 year old has really started hitting me up here lately on when he can have the opportunity to get his first real gun/bow and get the opportunity to try and kill a deer. He has been shooting and hunting with me the last 3 years and really enjoys every second of it. As of right now the only guns he has shot are my 410 and a single shot 22. He has a cheaper kids type bow but it's more entertainment than something of serious use or potential. He has been in the stand for several kills and just is absolutely obsessed with hunting and being in the woods. So me and my wife have been talking with Christmas right around the corner and him getting older it's time to move him to that next stage in his life.

So the question is how did do it? What gun did you start your child off with, how did you decide if they were physically and mentally ready to take somethings life. I know he really wants to bow hunt but I'm to afraid he can't pull a high enough weight to ethically kill something and don't know if starting out with a bow will be to difficult, kids need success to stay interested. Also I'm not sure about which way to go with a rifle, is it better off to start with a youth size rifle, that may end up to small in the future or something they can utilize their entire life, but may have a hard time fully handling now? What process did you use.

I guess just mistakes you made along the way or things you did that were really helpful and created a great time and learning experience for your child. I'm going to make this a fun experience for him and hopefully he can learn how to not only respect the equipment he uses but the game he may potentially take as well. Hopefully pick some things up from me that he can use his entire life.

Thanks in advanced for all the help and tips,
James C.

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#5462488 - 12/07/14 09:49 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
Jtmeeks Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/28/13
Posts: 367
Loc: TEXOMA
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#5462500 - 12/07/14 09:55 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
BigBucky2014 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 228
Loc: Cypress, TX
Great questions. Here's my story. When my son was 6 a certain president was elected and I was worried I might not always be able to just go and buy him a gun. I decided to go ahead and purchase a rifle he could hunt with his entire life if he wanted to do so. As such, I opted for a .270 Tikka T3 Lite stainless. We put it in the safe and went on about life. Now every year on his birthday he gets $$ from grandparents and us (we do the birthday buyout). When he was turning 8, he told me he was ready to start shooting his gun and that he wanted to use his birthday $$ this year to put a Leupold scope on his rifle. That's the moment I knew he was ready to move forward. He bought his scope and I bought a couple boxes of Hornady Custome Lite ammo (about 40% less recoil than a normal .270). We went to the range and sighted in his rifle. He did really well.

At the time, we were in the process of moving back to Texas from Washington state so neither of us did any hunting that year, but the next year he took his first deer - an 8pt. He had just turned 9 years old.

There are a couple of points I should make.

1. He's 11 now and is 5'7" tall and weighs 130lb. He's a big boy, much taller than most of his classmates and he's always been that way.
2. A .243 is more than adequate for deer hunting. I have both and honestly, I don't think there's much, if any, recoil difference between a .243 and the .270 with the lite loads. The .270 may actually kick less.
3. I think one of the most important factors is accuracy. If your child can shoot accurately enough to ethically kill a deer and they can sit in the blind for 3 hrs without asking how much longer ever 5 min, then they are ready.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth. Hope it helps a little.

Keith

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#5462576 - 12/07/14 10:38 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
Western Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 23593
Loc: Wise County Texas
Personally, I would concentrate on rifle hunting and hunting basics in general. Teach him about the whitetail and hunting. Instill the ethics and safety 1st, he will learn much from watching you, so have your ducks in a row.

As far as rifle, my boys learned with the ones I had, from 25.06 up. The 06 had a bull barrel so the kick was much less than my 7mm, they also really like shooting the marlin 30/30, great deer cartridge and light recoil.

IMO, you will be molding a man, so the whole thing from preparation, camping all lead up to the harvest and most the fun happens before the trigger is pulled. I found walks in the woods learning the animal the most entertaining, old rubs, scrape, bitten off browse, all are learning tools.


As far as bow's, I'd sure keep him interested, will teach patience and concentration and is a hobby he can do almost anywhere he has 20 yards, later it will allow more time in the woods hunting.

IMO, each child will respond different, it will be up to the parent who is there all the time to decide when they are ready to advance, no 2 kids are the same.

My boys are grown, but I wish you luck, a great opportunity to teach your kids a way of life, how to enjoy and respect the "wild", it is a great place to rejuvenate and recharge for a lifetime, or as long as it's legal.
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#5462611 - 12/07/14 10:53 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
txtrophy85 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 22039
How many rabbits, doves, coons, possums, etc has your son killed?

If the answer is zero, I would start there

IMO far to many guys try and get their kids into deer hunting early on and all they learn is how to sit in a blind and watch a feeder
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

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#5462628 - 12/07/14 11:07 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: txtrophy85]
Western Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 23593
Loc: Wise County Texas
Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
How many rabbits, doves, coons, possums, etc has your son killed?

If the answer is zero, I would start there

IMO far to many guys try and get their kids into deer hunting early on and all they learn is how to sit in a blind and watch a feeder


X's 2, it is so much more than that, if you want to dig deep. Teach them the " whole package" and they will be a better woodsman in years as bleak as this one has been.
_________________________
Friends don't let Friends drink and post.......

The first 5 day's after the weekend, are the hardest....

Dennis


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#5462651 - 12/07/14 11:28 AM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
Fishercounty Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 339
Loc: Fisher,Jones,Stonewall.
I agree with TXtrophy. I started my son when he was 5 plinking targets with a .410/ .22 combo, youth size made sure it was comfortably fit and let him plink away. Would take him with me Hunting rabbits, coons and dove. Progressed up to does, hogs, yotes and ducks with a 20 gauge and a youth .243 at 9. Let him take his first buck at 10. But teach him to "hunt" learn him the difference between shooting an animal, and taking game he has been hunting. My son is 11 now, helps me manage our place and can tell me which deer can be taken and the ones to let walk. He can track, identity scrapes, rubs and buck territory and knows were they bed, stage and feed. Can't get him to sit in a blind for more than a few hours and it's not because he's bored it's because he would rather be on the ground "Hunting" brushed in or posted up on a trail listening. I will say he loves his blind at night for hog hunts at feeders tho!
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#5462760 - 12/07/14 12:15 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
jetdad Offline
Tracker

Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 934
Loc: Grayson county
First, instill safety. This is obvious when the two of you are hunting but teach him to be aware of others. It's like defensive driving. I've hunted with my share of goofballs and know that as I teach my son to be safe, he will also be cognizant of the others around him. That's were the most danger is. Second, after he can kill a target do what Txtrophy says. Doves are the best to learn on as they provide a moving target, are usually easy to find, and develops his hand/eye coordination. Don't start him shooting moving targets with a .410. This is a common mistake. A .410 is a gun for a very experienced shooter and will tend to frustrate most beginners. Buy him a full size 20ga gas auto and get him a youth stock and swap it out. He will have the advantage of being able to grow out of the youth stock and into the adult shotgun without having to change the gun he's accustomed to. There are many managed loads out there with enough power for him to go from small game to big game as he becomes ready to graduate to larger animals. You'll know when he's ready, just don't push him. Remember you're probably just as excited as he is and there is a tendency to nudge kids along prematurely for our own benefit. I know I'm guilty of it and it's an easy trap to fall into. Each child is different. Respect this of him and he will appreciate it from you. Good luck and have fun. It's a great way to keep the family close.


Edited by jetdad (12/07/14 12:17 PM)
Edit Reason: grammer

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#5462824 - 12/07/14 12:56 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
Zach S Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 158
Loc: Mason, Gatesville, Round Rock
I started out practicing off hand shooting frogs on a pond when my dog would go scare them up. Moved on to rabbits and squirrels with a 22.
First gun was a Win 30/30 that my dad has as a family heirloom. During all this I went hunting constantly with my dad (not always in the morning hunts). My dad sat with me until I shot my first deer and I could prove that I could do so accurately and safely, clean it myself and do that tag correctly.
The first time I sat by myself was a morning hunt and ended up shooting a very nice 10 point that we had never seen before.

Long story short is this. Always ask your kid and never push them into something. Include them in all activities and explain why you are doing something and take time to show them the proper way. Make sure safety and respect is given to not only guns but the animals. Enjoy the time in the stand with your son as my dad still says he misses being in the same stand and enjoying he outdoors.

Best of luck and know that your son will have a lifelong love for hunting due to your efforts and patience.

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#5462868 - 12/07/14 01:17 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: txtrophy85]
longhorn3454 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 225
Originally Posted By: txtrophy85
How many rabbits, doves, coons, possums, etc has your son killed?

If the answer is zero, I would start there

IMO far to many guys try and get their kids into deer hunting early on and all they learn is how to sit in a blind and watch a feeder



For him, we have been both rabbit and squirrel hunting and he has successfully killed both. I never grew up doing any bird hunting so that is something he hasn't gotten to do, but I also look at it as I never did either. As far as other smaller game animals coons, possums random birds, snakes, etc. I always grew up and still practice if I'm not harvesting an animal with some of the intention of eating it then we don't kill, right or as wrong as that might be, it's just how I was brought up.

As far as spending time in the woods and learning the patterns and signs of different wildlife and nature we do that both during and after the season. And I don't have any concerns about his commitment in that area. Any 7 year old who sits in a lock on bow stand for hours and can watch deer at 10-45 yards without being busted is a success in my opinion. We have box stands and we hunt them but the intention is to not place him in it over a feeder and just shoot the first thing to show up, but to understand why we shoot the deer we do.

I realize it takes years to become a knowledgeable hunter and know I can't just go and blow his mind all at once, but think we are getting closer to that point of the next step in his hunting career, lol. And just want to make sure I do my best as his father to teach him what he needs to know to not only be safe, successful and ethical but to learn to respect and enjoy the outdoors and everything it has to offer him.

I want to make sure I equip him with both knowledge and gear to help him be successful. I know there are bumps along the road in this and never being on this end of the process I wanted to see what others did to help their kids move forward.

Thanks,
James C.

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#5462932 - 12/07/14 01:42 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
txtrophy85 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 22039
I don't have kids but do have a lot of experience guiding kids and my opinion is that kids under 10 need to be in the woods learning about things, not in a deer stand for long periods of time.

They need to learn how to clean squirrels and rabbits, how to bust open the crops of birds to see what they have been eating, how to find food sources animals prefer. Teach them how to read tracks.

Coons hides make excellent trophies for kids and both them and possums are very edible.

Teach them how to trap and snare if you can as well, both are very fun things for a kid to do. Running snares was and is one of my favorite things to do. Shooting turtles in a stock tank is also a boatload of fun

Deer hunting should be one of the final things in their hunting career not the first.

You start kids off catching perch and catfish not throwing top waters for speckled trout. Hunting is the same thing

I would say when a kid can kill and clean small game on his own he is ready to go after something bigger
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

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#5463065 - 12/07/14 02:43 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
longhorn3454 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 225
Western
I missed your Post the first read through, but thanks for the advice. A lot of that is what we do now. I make sure and bring him along with me anytime I do anything in the woods. I want to make sure he knows the ends and outs of the entire outdoor process. From scouting, camping, labor, preperation, survival and nuances of the animals around us. I hope I do a good enough job to teach him to respect and enjoy nature and that the killing is not what this is all about. I think that the allowing him to advance through my guns to see how he's does and reacts is a great idea and something I'll do before jumping into a purchase that he might not be able to get full use out of yet. And I'll defiantly keep him interested in bow hunting, lol. I've always believed it helped me become a better outdoors man and maybe it'll help him to.

Txtrophy85
Thanks for the different analogy. I really hadn't thought about it that way as much. It kinda made me stop and really thank how I started off as a child. The hunting small game and scavenging through the woods learning all I could. I do take him to hunt different small game and we are always in the woods walking, looking and trying to teach. Sometimes as parents we forget that what we want them to be able to do isn't what their ready to do. I know I won't push him into something were both not comfortable with and that he'll be ready when his time comes. And I'll be sure we spend as much time in the woods learning whatever it's willing to teach us.

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#5463942 - 12/07/14 08:19 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: txtrophy85]
Deerhunter61 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/27/08
Posts: 5569
Loc: DFW
I agree with everything said above! It sounds like your son is pretty much ready...if you start him off deer hunting I'd recommend having him take a doe the first year. He'd have to clean it, or at least assist cleaning it. The second year I'd allow him to shoot a cull buck and he'd be responsible for handling a little more of the cleaning etc and then by the third year if still progressing I'd let him take the trophy. I believe he will grow to appreciate it more if he has to work for it.

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#5464348 - 12/07/14 10:33 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
kmon1 Online   content
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 20319
Loc: Texas
Lots of good advice and discussion so far. Sounds like he is getting ready, but you and his Mom are the ones to make that call for when you believe he is ready.

Rifles for deer and hogs. Look at the ones like Weatherby Vanguard which comes in a youth model and just replace the stock when he outgrows the youth stock and the same rifle can be used for years. The Managed recoil 243 ammo will recoil about like the 410 or less. Another that I hunt with a lot and is my main truck gun is a Marlin 357 Mag. Inside 125 yards it is very effective with recoil like a 223.

There are many guns that will work for youth these days, a bolt action 6.8SPC is another good deer cartridge with very little recoil.
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#5464377 - 12/07/14 11:02 PM Re: advice on starting my son hunting [Re: longhorn3454]
BigBucky2014 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 06/04/14
Posts: 228
Loc: Cypress, TX
For the record, we do a lot of dove and squirrel hunting as well. You can't hunt deer year around. We also do some varmint and a bit of rabbit hunting, but not much. Agree that kids need to be well rounded hunters, my 11 year old helps clear brush for shooting lanes, build feeder pens, etc. Like others have said, it's the whole package. Good luck.

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