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Youth Hunter Tactics, goals, ideas, etc???

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
My situation:
My boy is 11. This is his 4th year “being out or hunting with dad”…. He had 3 years of just coming with me while I pulled trigger. We only shot some select does. No bucks.

Last year he got a big doe & an older 8 point buck. We hunted hard & did do a gun hunt as he’s fairly small, understands the hunt, good with guns & was NOT ready for a bow. We purposefully targeted a non-high scoring deer but older. THIS SITUATION- that’s what he asked to shoot- an older one. If he had wanted to shoot a 1.5 year old- I would have let him. I would NOT allow him to shoot a high scoring older deer as I personally feel it’s too early for this & it could make him unappreciative & have expectations that hunting is easy- whatever. I want him to “work for it”. He also helps me around the farm weekly so he understands the hard work. I felt good about what he shot last year. Thinking we may target a big 6-7 pt or an old 8 this year - nothing real big but old.

***one other thing that did not sit well with me…. I do know that there’s some guys that get young kids in to target the “slammers of area” before anyone else. For ME…. Me alone, doesn’t sit well with me. Kids are too young & that’s kinda a grown man’s game to be played on October 1. But that’s me & how u view it is how you view it.

We may try some alfalfa or some Dbltree mix or clover. Not sure. Be great also if really green beans around. Clearly evenings only unless we get a weekend for a doe where we can do an am hunt for a doe maybe.
Clearly every situation is different. My 1st deer was the first deer I could shoot. Which is great. Got me hooked.

You all bringing any kids out? Thoughts on what to target? How you are hunting?

****OK- this is example of buck be fun to try & get on for 11 year old. (When I was young, I would have shot a spike- so I think this is pretty cool).
744760ED-515D-428B-A8C7-A4ED81EF3E2A.jpeg
D4908AC8-CE7C-4FBC-8711-0E7DB79C03A6.jpeg

this is how it started with me many years ago!! :).
492F7F4E-CD68-4969-8689-7BCE706A551A.jpegBF1C2090-AD38-4B07-B8EF-925D6B09873E.jpeg
 
Last edited:

2.5YR8

Active Member
I'll be taking my 8 yr old for the 1st time this year. I have her shooting a muzzle loader with 60 grains of 777, and using open sights. She's pretty solid out to 50 yards with it. She has sat with me a few times bow hunting and turkey hunting, and has shot some squirrels with her pellet gun.

She will be sitting in a wagon blind over clover/alfalfa, or a natural brush blind next to clover. I will also have a couple blinds next to beans, but it's a long walk to them so they are a last resort deal. Unfortunately I have to work 2 out of the 3 weekends so my dad will probably be sitting with her more than me.

She wants to shoot a buck, and I'll let her shoot whatever one she wants. The cameras started pretty slow this summer, and she was getting to the point where she was fine with a doe. The cam check from a couple days ago showed a couple different bachelor groups finding our rub trees so she's back on the buck hunt.
 

kelcher

Well-Known Member
My son's last year as a youth hunter. He can shoot what he wants. We have no "target deer" that we are looking for so he will need to make the choice on what to shoot when. Pretty sure he'll shoot the first 120" buck that shows up or if he gets impatient he'll whack a doe. Either way we'll have fun.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Agree guys- 100%…. If kids want to shoot ______…. Let em. Totally agree. Getting them hooked & loving it is the critical part. I’d bet that 99% of men don’t care what kids shoot. Or maybe they have a close call but don’t tag one- all good. If they have fun, have a challenge & start to understand what hunting is all about…. Mission accomplished. I love seeing the kids deer posted here followed by “he or she is hooked”!
& my son looks forward to “steak dinner” from the deer he shot. Bit more than Couple weeks & it’s go time!! My boy is shooting the ruger 10/22 as practice & about to switch to his deer Gun. Stoked!
 

bkcrrtnps

Well-Known Member
My situation:
My boy is 11. This is his 4th year “being out or hunting with dad”…. He had 3 years of just coming with me while I pulled trigger. We only shot some select does. No bucks.

Last year he got a big doe & an older 8 point buck. We hunted hard & did do a gun hunt as he’s fairly small, understands the hunt, good with guns & was NOT ready for a bow. We purposefully targeted a non-high scoring deer but older. THIS SITUATION- that’s what he asked to shoot- an older one. If he had wanted to shoot a 1.5 year old- I would have let him. I would NOT allow him to shoot a high scoring older deer as I personally feel it’s too early for this & it could make him unappreciative & have expectations that hunting is easy- whatever. I want him to “work for it”. He also helps me around the farm weekly so he understands the hard work. I felt good about what he shot last year. Thinking we may target a big 6-7 pt or an old 8 this year - nothing real big but old.

***one other thing that did not sit well with me…. I do know that there’s some guys that get young kids in to target the “slammers of area” before anyone else. For ME…. Me alone, doesn’t sit well with me. Kids are too young & that’s kinda a grown man’s game to be played on October 1. But that’s me & how u view it is how you view it.

We may try some alfalfa or some Dbltree mix or clover. Not sure. Be great also if really green beans around. Clearly evenings only unless we get a weekend for a doe where we can do an am hunt for a doe maybe.
Clearly every situation is different. My 1st deer was the first deer I could shoot. Which is great. Got me hooked.

You all bringing any kids out? Thoughts on what to target? How you are hunting?

****OK- this is example of buck be fun to try & get on for 11 year old. (When I was young, I would have shot a spike- so I think this is pretty cool).
View attachment 121242
View attachment 121243

this is how it started with me many years ago!! :).
View attachment 121246View attachment 121247

Hell I’ll come target that older buck you have pictured…man I love old deer that don’t score high. I’m not sure what it is but I’d shoot a spike every year if he was 6+


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C-LINE10

Member
Agree guys- 100%…. If kids want to shoot ______…. Let em. Totally agree. Getting them hooked & loving it is the critical part. I’d bet that 99% of men don’t care what kids shoot. Or maybe they have a close call but don’t tag one- all good. If they have fun, have a challenge & start to understand what hunting is all about…. Mission accomplished. I love seeing the kids deer posted here followed by “he or she is hooked”!
& my son looks forward to “steak dinner” from the deer he shot. Bit more than Couple weeks & it’s go time!! My boy is shooting the ruger 10/22 as practice & about to switch to his deer Gun. Stoked!
Our normal rule at our place is any kid we have hunt, we let them shoot what they want, but once they have shot a buck, then going forward they typically are on the same page as the rest of us, shooters only:)
 

Hardwood11

It is going to be a good fall!
My boys were allowed to shoot whatever, and then after shooting a few bucks, then I said let's get a little more picky...however... I didn't really need to say anything as both boys-- (I have 4) but two are serious hunters---wanted to shoot nice bucks anyway.

Now they live for hunting like I do, and we try to shoot quality bucks and some does for the freezer. Last year we passed small to mid-range bucks and never filled any buck tags in MN.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Our normal rule at our place is any kid we have hunt, we let them shoot what they want, but once they have shot a buck, then going forward they typically are on the same page as the rest of us, shooters only:)
We do about the same...the exception might be if we have a high potential 3 year old that we declare off limits for everyone. But it has never been a problem.
 

Meyer30

Member
Youth hunts with my Dad were some of my best times growing up. We never sat in a stand or blind, we would hike all around our woods and the public land behind our house. We'd find a good tree to sit up against until our butts got sore or stopped seeing deer, then move on to a new spot. My Dad would bring his little radio with earbuds and we'd listen to football games or NASCAR races. He made it fun, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to get introduced to hunting! Our goal wasn't really to kill anything, just spend time in the woods together. My Dad passed away from cancer when I was 17 so those youth hunts are some of my most cherished memories.
 

LoessHillsArcher

Well-Known Member
I personally would do whatever was exciting to my kid. Keep it exciting for them and the rest will come together over the years. If you press them to hunt or hold them to your own goals/standards, good chance you can take some excitement away from them. Let them define their own goals and how they want to achieve them.

Looking forward to taking my 3 yr old out squirrel hunting next week. He's excited about it but honestly he feeds on any excitement. I think I could get him excited about eating a salad and watching the news. haha
 

Daver

PMA Member
Just another thought of mine related to youth hunts, I really like Meyer30's account above, I wouldn't let my kids shoot a deer or turkey until they were able to help prepare for the hunt. Blind building, brush clearing, planting, etc. I didn't want them to just think that they could show up and a be a trigger man only. They had to do something to prepare too. This seemed to work well and both are still actively hunting now in their mid-to-late 20's...one more seriously than the other. But all of those times growing up are fond memories and good lessons for all.

Nothing wrong with a good squirrel hunt either....makes me wish my kids were young again! :) But, ah, I have a 18 month old grandson coming up...I'll take him! :)
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I have to look at this different or analyze because no one took me hunting. I grabbed my bow & just walked around. I’d sit & freeze. 75% of time didn’t see a deer. 24% of time - saw them running. 1% - got one. ;). I was worst hunter on earth. Period. For some reason- I loved it. Would go out every day if allowed. Mom dropped me off & picked me up at dark.
Sometime it will be him on his own & I wanna set him up to be ready for those days. I think he’ll see a few more deer than I did growing up. ;).
 

Obsessed

Well-Known Member
I've only denied one of my kids from harvesting a couple of young deer that wouldn't have provided more than a couple pounds of venison. Outside of that, anything is fair game. My oldest son harvested a monster last year and I was proud to pay the taxidermy bill for it. No way would I deny any of them from harvesting a monster, just because they're kids. He may never get a crack at another one like it.

We tend to sit in stands and they use firearms. I'm teaching them how to shoot a bow, but I think bow hunting is probably something that they'll need to take up on their own once they're 16. None of them show a huge passion for it yet though. I think that getting them involved at young ages via the youth season has lessened their excitement for it. I started shotgun hunting with our party when I was 13 or 14, as my 1st deer hunting experience, and for the 1st few years, I couldn't sleep leading up to season opener. My kids don't show even a hint of that type of excitement, so there's a good possibility that none of them will hunt much / any outside of the opportunities that I help provide for them now.
 

hillrunner

PMA Member
I've only denied one of my kids from harvesting a couple of young deer that wouldn't have provided more than a couple pounds of venison. Outside of that, anything is fair game. My oldest son harvested a monster last year and I was proud to pay the taxidermy bill for it. No way would I deny any of them from harvesting a monster, just because they're kids. He may never get a crack at another one like it.

We tend to sit in stands and they use firearms. I'm teaching them how to shoot a bow, but I think bow hunting is probably something that they'll need to take up on their own once they're 16. None of them show a huge passion for it yet though. I think that getting them involved at young ages via the youth season has lessened their excitement for it. I started shotgun hunting with our party when I was 13 or 14, as my 1st deer hunting experience, and for the 1st few years, I couldn't sleep leading up to season opener. My kids don't show even a hint of that type of excitement, so there's a good possibility that none of them will hunt much / any outside of the opportunities that I help provide for them now.
I tend to agree with the part about youth season lessening their interest. I don't necessarily blame youth season but I do think the whole floating tag thing has removed a lot of the excitement for kids. I think they are missing out on that opening day excitement when they literally have 4 months to fill that tag. I think too much opportunity devalues the experience. That's what I saw from my perspective anyway.
 

kelcher

Well-Known Member
I guess the way I've seen it is that I want to give them an opportunity to see what it is like and decide for themselves if it is something that they might have a passion for. While they're young, Dad will kind of set things up for them. After they are 16 there is plenty of time for them to learn. . .
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Good points above. Notice how “society” is often “make it easy”. “Make it guaranteed”. Participation trophies for everyone! Even the “politicians” & some hunters push that for kids to some degree so it’s as close to guaranteed as possible. I’m not a fan of that.
Im gonna say a lot on here started hunting “the hard way”. My example: IT SUCKED!!!! I froze + I was a horrid hunter + I hunted where hardly any deer = somehow I still loved it & got hooked. So how is that possible??? I don’t think it should be easy. It needs a challenge. Kinda why it took “4 years” to even shoot a doe (1 real hunting season to be clear as other 3 he watched & came with).
Challenge & difficulty + some fun seem like it’s critical IMHO.
there is kids getting into hunting - no doubt. Hooked hard. There’s others who would rather sit on YouTube & play video games. Thank goodness we got folks who get this & try their best to create a situation where kids will get hooked and love it. Exactly how to do that….. I don’t know to be honest. Why I’m posting ;). So far- my boy is loving it. I waited until he asked me to go a lot. Took a long time & then still took a long time to shoot a deer. I am far from having it figured out but we as hunters better keep trying & continue to bring these kiddos out. No participation trophies in this house but we’ll be trying to put some meat in freezer in few weeks. Whether we do or not- that’s hunting & that’s exactly the point I’m trying to get across to kids.
Love the comments & thoughts from everyone. Good stuff.
 

chadw

Member
Great thread. I encouraged my daughter to shoot the first deer that we had an ethical shot. First year, nothing presented itself. Last year, she bagged a nice buck. She blood trailed and helped field dress it herself. Creating amazing memories!

And this spring her first turkey.

My advise: Start ‘em young. She is the youngest of 7, and I didn’t really get into hunting until 4 years ago. So she is the only one showing interest right now.





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