A first deer hunt will be experienced by many new young hunters as deer rifle season opens in many states. What a great time to be out in the forests and field and mentor a youth with their first deer hunt.
To make sure those experiences are safe and enjoyable, hunter safety specialists advise that adults supervising the youngsters on their first deer hunt consider the needs and emotions of the beginner and make sure they follow rules designed to protect hunters in the field.
As many of us that already participate in hunting know that having that first experience be a good one is very important – if one doesn’t have fun on that first deer hunt, you’re not likely to want to do it again. Died-in-the-wool hunters can appreciate shivering on a deer stand … and liking it. But beginners will question your sanity in the same scenario.
Remember that kids will be kids – they’re going to fidget, pay attention only briefly and may get bored. Perhaps the first deer hunt should not be slated for an eight hour day. A better choice might be to plan a brief hunt early and late in the day. Utilize the middle portion of the day to do some scouting, talk about responsible actions of ethical hunters, or even make plans for the next hunt.
The youngster must be comfortable – don’t make the first deer hunt experience a painful one. Plan your clothing to meet the needs of the hunt and of course, be sure to have at least the legal amount of blaze orange. That would be a blaze orange cap or hat and a vest or jacket. Full blaze orange from head to toe is even better.
Here’s a few other tips to remember to help make a young hunter’s first experience a safe and enjoyable one.
- Begin the day at a reasonable hour
- Make sure the youngster has the appropriate clothing for their first deer hunt. You may need to give some guidance here especially if the parents are not hunters or outdoor enthusiasts.
- Use the right equipment for the first deer hunt. Small kids find it difficult to handle firearms designed for adults. If they need rain gear, gloves, or caps, make sure they know in advance.
- Take along snacks. These are must for today’s youth. The selection of snacks available now is limited only by your imagination.
- Above all, make it fun! All the little subtleties that come with hunting can be learned on future outings.
It is important to remember that in most states your new deer hunter will need to have attended a passed a hunter safety course. Online hunter safety courses are now available from companies such as hunteredcourse.com. Hunter Ed Course was created with youth hunters in mind. The reading comprehension level is grade 6.5. The Easy Learning System™ is unique to Hunter Ed Course, providing narration that matches the written word, interactive exercises, photos and practice exams that prompt the user to the correct answer.
Take the time between now and first deer hunt for your new hunter to prepare them for the event. Include your new deer hunter in all aspects of preparing for the hunt including gaining landowner permission to hunt their property, scouting and preparing the tree stand. This will greatly increase their anticipation and enjoyment.
Be sure to include time to take them to the shooting range and get some practice shooting in before the first deer hunt. A little confidence in their shooting abilities will go a long way in making this an enjoyable first deer hunt.
About the Author
Tim Lawhern is a hunting and firearms safety consultant based in Madison, Wisconsin. Tim is the former Hunter Education Administrator for the Wisconsin DNR, a former President of International Hunter Education Association (IHEA-USA) and Co-Director of the IHEA-USA Hunter Incident Academy.
About Hunter Ed Course
Hunter Ed Course is committed to providing a more affordable online hunter safety course than is currently on the market in order to reduce training as a barrier to access for those wanting to start hunting.
Offered at only $13 through the website www.HunterEdCourse.com, access is provided to online hunter education for youth and adults in a medium they are comfortable with and at a price that is affordable and within reach.