How much should we "bend" to interest kids in the outdoors?

Discussion in 'The Duck Hunters Forum' started by seiowa, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Squaller

    Squaller Elite Refuge Member

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    I have younger daughters (4 & 7 years old) and both started going into the field at about 2 or 3 years old.

    I make sure that they are physically comfortable... If it is cold, I make sure they have a heater and warm clothes. If they get cold, I understand I have to cut the hunt short (which I do not like doing).

    BB guns, binoculars, duck calls, jerk cords, are all sources of entertainment. Pointing out other forms of wildlife (such as hawks and shorebirds), as well as working on "calling skills," are all beneficial. The children (from my perspective) must feel they are part of the experience to enjoy the experience.

    Dove hunting often involves some independent "dirt play" or picking almonds or raisins and eating them... Last year my oldest went turkey hunting with me, and I set her up in a small ground blind. She built an impressive and elaborate fort out of different sized sticks... We then took the quad for a ride, found a shallow pond with a ton of small frogs, and spent some time catching frogs.

    Duck hunting always involves a thermos of hot chocolate, a ride on the quad, and pulling the jerk-cord (not to mention sleeping overnight in the duck shack with a Hello Kitty sleeping bag)... My oldest is actually decent on the duck call, and has learned when to join in, and when to keep quiet... The youngest just likes to make noise on the call, but is trying to learn, but has no problem keeping quiet when asked.

    So... Personally, I do not include electronics in the field... But, I do make an effort to appreciate the little things that might interest a child, that would have no appeal to us adults.... From gearing up in the proper attire (i.e. head-to-toe camouflage), to noticing a cricket in the blind, to finding a white snow goose feather, to seeing colorful shorebirds right next to the blind. Kids love the little things, and remind us to do so as well, and taking electronics to the blind seems to me to be counterproductive to the quality child-father time spent...

    Admittedly, there is a certain degree of work and stress that goes with taking a child into the field, and there should be some degree of effort made to make the event enjoyable (for both of you)... But from my perspective, the rewards have far outweighed the effort....
     
  2. tcc

    tcc Elite Refuge Member

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    Oh we have public land----but he said good land. :D
    There is no doubt some good public hunting available in our state. That said if you're like most and only get to hunt weekends it gets crowded quickly. Sure, we've found some holes off the beaten path but those generally require long walks, paddles, etc and lots of effort and no warm blind. Not exactly ideal for bringing young kids.
     
  3. jcneng

    jcneng Senior Refuge Member

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    Whatever it takes! Based on my fondness for junk food I am betting on snacks with my grandson! Charlie first hunt snacks.JPG
     

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  4. The_Duck_Master

    The_Duck_Master Elite Refuge Member

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    Over 1/2 the state of Oregon is federal land but that really doesn't have much to do with duck hunting and mostly has an inverse relationship with quality.
     
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  5. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    I won't speak for tcc down in LA, but there's some great public land in my part of the world. It's not necessarily great for kids though. Much of it requires extremely early drives, long boat rides and possible death marches through public timber. In high water years, or years with a ton of ice, it almost always involves sketchy, re. dangerous, long boat rides and hunting from the boat. And, there are some which when conditions are right are ideal for kids. Put all that together and it equals not something to count on, and the time required makes quick hunts an impossible task.

    Two years ago when the big river was out most of the season there's no way I'd carry a younger kid to the places I was forced to hunt. Luckily mine was old enough at the time and got a kick out of running the boat down flooded roads and past road signs which barely stuck out of the water. Best was when I ran the boat over a bridge and he realized where we were, and then we turned out into the woods and shot ducks. Thing is, we were still two miles from the river and the current was like being in the main channel.

    In this area, it really costs almost as much to hunt public well as it does to lease a spot due to the equipment and time required. Might as well join a lease so you have an easy spot to take them and deal with the other as you desire.
     
  6. tcc

    tcc Elite Refuge Member

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    That's pretty much what I was getting at; it's there and available, but not generally feasable with young kids.
     
  7. H20DAD

    H20DAD Elite Refuge Member

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    Your two examples actually support genetics. But you have to understand the idea of penetrance or phenotype.

    I hope hunting is genetic because it is then an argument against the antihunters. If homosexuals can use "its genetics" or "how we are wired" and not a choice to get extra rights and protection then why can't hunters?

    As to bringing new hunters into the sport I think that youth hunts unless at the end of a hunting season are a bad idea. And that focusing on young adults post high school college aged kids who haven't been exposed to hunting are the best chance to swell hunting numbers. At this age people are learning to think for themselves and are most open and driven to new experiences.

    Added to this the current crop of jackarse hunters we all complain about were brought up on youth hunts where slaying was the point of it for too many. While harvesting is a huge part of hunting. How you do it and respect for others and the game is more important than slaying. Moving the focus away from kids and before season slay fests to young adults who are doing this on their own with some thought out mentorship is where it's at.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  8. seiowa

    seiowa Elite Refuge Member

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    While humans like to neatly categorize things with little or no exception, I think the kicker here is it LARGELY depends on the individual. Where that "drive" comes from? I dunno. I could wager genetic but just anecdotally I've seen lots of folks defy what you'd expect genetically speaking. I could assert nurture over nature but some kids you just keep pushing and prodding and they're never gonna be into it.

    Myself, I dunno what even caused it, but I've had the drive for it as long as I could remember. Maybe because I didn't have Xbox, Instagram, Call of Duty, plyometric morning workouts and afternoon strength coaching to "accompany" my football practices, etc like kids do today. But anyway, as a kid and moreso as an adolescent I sat, and sat, and SAT many hunts without killing anything and plenty more without so much as firing a shot. But each birdless day made me HUNGRIER for the next day. Because maybe I'm just some idiot optimist, but sooner or later, you flip that coin enough times, and it'll come up heads. And once I got that taste of what a quick limit, full strap day spent BSing and watching the show was like, I was determined to experience it again.

    I'll also add while my family always did outdoor related stuff like fishing, camping, boating, etc, the only kind of actual hunting we did was for duck and occasionally rabbit. Everything else I was self taught. Went a lot of years without shooting a turkey and without shooting a deer. Even know as a grown azz man I feel I am behind the curve of where some of y'all started slaying deer and turkeys while you still had your front teeth missing. It's about the reward. The sweet, sweet reward.

    Perhaps my addictive personality. I feel rewards VERY strongly. Probably 90% of the reason I'm still dipping today is I can taste that sweet sweet reward of going through the hassle of contacting friends of friends of older brothers cousins neighbors in the grades above me, smuggling it around at school, until I could hide it in the locker room and finally having the guts to bust it out in the locker room after a tough fought win, shiz eating grin on our faces soon to be followed by green around the gills. But dammit, it was a reward for the struggle. I'll always remember a reward no matter how many crappy azz times come between.
     
  9. bill cooksey

    bill cooksey Elite Refuge Member

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    Good point.

    Just wanted to get across some folks would end up loving it and some not...assuming they have sufficient exposure. I really think parents worry a bit too much about it all. Absolutely appropriate to make it a fun experience in the early years, but what that requires will depend on the individual kid. With my oldest, he didn't care if that meant sleeping in the boat to get a spot. My youngest, he ain't sleeping in a boat.
     
  10. Fowler267

    Fowler267 Elite Refuge Member

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    First two are good.

    I don't see any punk kids paying for the public land.....

    When I started I was lucky to get a break on a Jr License...

    Now they get early and late Youth days for deer, fowl, turkey etc... Let the spoiled brats contend with the scraps the adults leave for them. It might teach them to be humble and appreciate the sport more.
     

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