1. Take them hunting
Let a child tag along on a short hunt when the weather is nice. This strategy will allow them to experience hunting, without getting bored, cold, sunburnt, etc. Don’t forget to make it fun and enjoyable for the youngster.
Try this: When there is snow on the ground, try pulling kids to and from the stand on a sled. Then, on the way home, find a big hill to slide down.
2. Visit a sport show
Attend the NWTF Convention or plan an afternoon at a local sport show. Exposing children to the social side of the outdoors by letting them see the outdoor gear, outfitters and people attending.
Try this: Let them choose an item to purchase, buy them a hot dog and take in a seminar.
3. Go to a zoo or wildlife refuge
Watch and study wildlife at a nearby zoo, wildlife refuge or in the woods. There is a lot to learn about animals by simply observing them.
Try this: Cruise through your area looking for specific wildlife and keep a journal of what you spotted.
4. Start them in shooting sports
Shooting sports programs teach firearm safety and hunting ethics, and provide a scheduled time to shoot regularly. These programs help kids become proficient with firearms or archery equipment, keys to becoming successful hunters.
Try this: Enroll children in programs like JAKES, 4-H, Boy Scouts, or Girl Scouts.
5. Include kids in hunting chores
Allowing children to participate in hunting related activities teaches them about hunting strategy, planning and tactics. Planting food plots instills land stewardship ethics while placing tree stands and ground blinds emphasizes how to scout good locations.
Try this: Let children assist you in planting food plots by throwing seed, or allow them to control the wheel and steer your equipment if on wheels.
6. Get the right gear
Adult clothing does not fit small children, no matter how much you want it to. Invest in specific sized gear that fits little ones properly.
Try this: Shop online or in stores at Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops for boots, clothes and daypacks made especially for children.
7. Bring them to hunting camp
Camp cooking, tall tales, a campfire and sleeping bags appeal to kids. Lay down the rules and tame the rough language before the kids arrive, but invite them into the circle with open arms.
Try this: Ask the youngster their favorite animal, time of day, etc. while they are helping you stir dishes to prepare for dinner.
8. Take them scouting
Outfit children with quality binoculars and set out to find some winter flocks of turkeys or summer feeding whitetails. Let them help set up trail cameras in key locations after scouting.
Try this: Give the kids the first look at what the trail cameras captured.
9. Donate venison
Remember to bring along your young outdoors person when you donate any extra wild game to a local food bank. They will witness the helping hand hunting can lend the community.
Try this: Drive to donate venison with a child co-pilot after they assist you in packaging and loading the meat.
10. Work on a conservation project
Hunters invest more funding in wildlife conservation than all other groups combined. Instill this concept in youth by involving them in a local conservation project.
Try this: Contact your local NWTF chapter and find events and projects near you.