Skip to main content

The Best Way to Get Kids Into Hunting

The Best Way to Get Kids Into Hunting

At the age of five, I wanted my hair chopped short, loved guns, and begged to spend every waking minute outside playing in the mud, fishing, or helping my dad trap.

I sometimes wonder what on earth my parents thought when they looked at their little girl who was basically a tomboy from day one.  There had to be a few times they wondered if I would ever snap out of it, but they never questioned me. Instead they made sure to take my brother and I hunting, trapping, and fishing every chance we could get.

As a little girl I preferred to shoot my bow over playing with dolls.


Not every kid is like this, but that doesn't mean they won't grow up to enjoy the outdoors.


One of the top questions I am asked by parents who hunt is, "What is the best way to get my son or daughter interested in the outdoors?" My answer is easy and always the same, you need to make it fun and never push them. With that said this might disrupt your hunting from time to time, but too bad.

My hair was chopped short, I loved guns, and begged to spend every waking minute outside--I was a tomboy from day one.

The first rule when hunting with kids, don't make them stay after they get bored. If a kid gets bored and wants to go home after a few hours in the blind, take them home if you want them to come with you again.  You need to make sure they remember the entire experience as fun, not boring.  That way next time they will ask to come along again and maybe you will see more game, so they will last longer without getting bored.

My 1st duck ever shot on public land during Youth Day in Minnesota.


Next, try to take them with you in ground blinds, box blinds, or places where they can move around a little bit. Treestands are tough and can be dangerous, but a blind allows them to sleep on the ground if they get tired, play games, and also makes it easy for them to see what is going on.  One very important note, always pack a good lunch and bring snacks!

One thing I can remember as a kid is all the good snacks my parents would pack for us when we would go duck hunting. My brother and I would hide under an umbrella in the weeds, play games and eat food until we heard a shot.  Then we would run out, grab the ducks, and return to our little hideout.  This was the setup at least until we were old enough to join in the action!

This may not be the biggest deer ever, but it was my 1st!


In Minnesota I had to wait until I was 12-years old to hunt.  Once I finally hit age twelve, I couldn't wait for the fall to come!  My first days as a hunter were spent duck hunting on youth day out on public land.  This is another great way to give your child all your attention and make the entire day about them. Youth days are normally before the regular season is open so the hunting is usually outstanding! When deer hunting came around, my dad basically set his hunt aside and made it his mission to get me a deer.

My dad never got on me when I missed (which happened a few times to say the least) and always walked through the thickest brush and gave me the easy route. It was the little things like this that made it an enjoyable experience and hooked me on hunting for life. It had nothing to do with the size of the deer and it was years before I ever shot a racked buck, but that didn't matter.

After seeing my mom's big archery buck I wanted to be just like her and become a bowhunter too!

To keep a child's interest longer, try giving them a camera to take photos of the deer or whatever you are hunting. This will keep them occupied and give them a way to take home their own trophy, this time it just happens to be in the form of a photo. This works if they are not old enough to hunt, but also if you have a son or daughter who isn't sure they want to shoot an animal yet. The worst thing you could do is push a child to shoot an animal before they are ready.  Give them a camera to take along on the hunt and get them out there enjoying nature. Once they are ready to shoot an animal they will let you know, and it will be their decision.

Regardless of whether or not your kids plan on hunting, it's a great idea for them to go through a Hunter's Safety course. Not only does it familiarize them with guns it will also make it easier for them to hunt in the future should they change their mind one fall. Obviously most hunters have guns in their homes so making sure your kids understand safety and how they work is important, regardless of whether or not they hunt. There are a lot of day camps now that allow the kids to get together, learn about the outdoors and complete their hunter safety.

A successful Youth Day duck hunt in central MN with my family. (Mom was taking the photo)

Lastly if you have a little girl, make sure to show her photos and video of other women and girls who hunt. A lot of young girls have the misconception that they will be teased or treated like a boy if they want to hunt and that is simply not true. The more female hunters a little girl can see, the better your chances of grabbing her interest.  I know growing up there were very few female hunters, but lucky for me I had my mom to look up to!

I'm not writing this as a parenting session because I know nothing about raising kids. What I do know is what caused me to fall in love with the outdoors. Patience, dedication and a lot of time and support by my parents!

Every weekend we would spend time as a family duck hunting on public land near our home.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Is That a Grizzly Bear?

Kevin Steele and Jason Morton are above the Arctic Circle pursuing grizzly bears in Alaska and put a stalk on what they believe is a good one.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been7 Favorite Truck Guns Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. How to Properly Grill Venison Steak Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020 Bowhunting

Best New Bowhunting Gear for 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - May 21, 2020

These are our favorite new products of the year for the archery crowd.

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy black bears.A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears North America Big Game

A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears

Joseph von Benedikt

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy...

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Is it ethical, and should you even try it?Should You Shoot Running Game? How-To

Should You Shoot Running Game?

Craig Boddington

Is it ethical, and should you even try it?

A look at the three types of terrain backcountry hunters are likely to find themselves in during fall seasons, and the tactics and gear needed to find success.Backcountry Terrain Types and the Tools You'll Need to Hunt Them How-To

Backcountry Terrain Types and the Tools You'll Need to Hunt Them

Petersen's Hunting Staff

A look at the three types of terrain backcountry hunters are likely to find themselves in...

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now