Why Take Your Kids Hunting?
You might be wondering how all this relates to being a mom; the answer is varied. For one thing, teaching your kids about firearms safety is smart. It removes the magic and mystique surrounding guns and makes it clear they’re tools. Guns have a purpose and are not toys. Start small, keep it age-appropriate, and go from there. My kids are quizzed on the four rules of gun safety every single time firearms are brought out, whether for hunting or range time. Once they can demonstrate they not only know but also follow the safety rules, you can move on to the next stage. Safety is paramount, and it’s your responsibility as a mom to keep your kids safe. That doesn’t mean you teach them guns are scary; it means you train them to know what to do with and around firearms to be safe, responsible human beings.
Hunting and Shooting with Kids as a Single Mom
Here’s the thing: I didn’t have the luxury of a spouse when my oldest was learning to hunt and shoot. It’s something I did myself. Lessons were learned along the way about teaching these things to kids, so I fine-tuned my process over time. If you’re thinking you couldn’t possibly manage it on your own, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely can. Not only that—if you hunt, you can fill your freezer and teach your kids about being self-sufficient, all at once.
Yes, It Takes Extra Work
I won’t sugar-coat it—taking your kids hunting and shooting does require extra time and effort. You might find it’s a lot less relaxing for you in the early days than going alone, but the payoff is ultimately worth it. The goal isn’t necessarily to sculpt a hunting buddy for life; it’s to teach useful life skills and spend time with your kids. Some “take to it” more than others, and that should be respected as well.
Sure, now you need more ear pro, ammo, and camo. Of course, you also have a built-in excuse to broaden your pre-hunt junk food buying spree. You might think that detail doesn’t make an impact, but I’m here to tell you the ever-present bags of miniature Hershey bars on fishing trips when I was a kid are stuck in my brain forever. It isn’t because I love the candy bars; it’s that having them created an indelible, positive memory. These things might seem small, but even tiny traditions leave lasting marks.
Those Moments, Though…
I’ve been blessed—which isn’t a word I hang on the walls of my house or say much—with some awesome hunting moments with my kids (and some funny ones, too). There was the time my oldest was 12 and waited too long to shoot an Osceola tom turkey, and so what started as an easy shot became a major challenge, but she nailed it beautifully. Then there was the time she wanted to leave the blind to pet the cows and texted her dad to get him to try to convince me to allow it (yes, she ended up going to pet the cows). To this day, the two of them laugh over their team effort to get me to let her out of the blind, all for cows.
Our two middle kids tend to fall asleep when night hunting hogs, but when it comes to deer, they’re wide awake. On one occasion, we took just the boys out for deer, and it happened to also be sandhill crane season. We ended up getting a crane, and the picture I took of my husband with our 8-year-old and our youngest will be a favorite for a long time. Afterward, my husband showed our grade schooler how to process a crane, and I demonstrated how to use the leftover parts for bone broth.
The first time my youngest touched antlers that were on a buck I’d just shot (rather than the sheds our dogs chew on), he was ridiculously excited. His smile, giggle, and look of awe were all contagious. I think we have a serious hunter on our hands with him, but only time will tell.
These may or may not be the moments that warm your heart. Consider them examples of small ways hunting helps you connect with your kids. After all, we don’t really need them staring at electronics or sitting indoors all the time, do we? Take your kids hunting with you. You won’t regret it, and they’ll remember those golden moments for the rest of their lives. Maybe they’ll even get to pet a cow along the way.
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