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BobT

New hunter

19 posts in this topic

Tomorrow, last minute I know, I will be taking my 12-year old daughter out with me on her first deer hunt. She hasn't really expressed any interest in hunting in the past but this past spring I insisted she go through the firearms safety training. Ever since then she has expressed a desire to go deer hunting.

Any last minute advice about how I can best make this hunt a good impression for her?

Thanks,

Bob

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Focus all your attention on her. Make this her hunt. If you make it enjoyable for her you'll have a hunting partner for life. The fisrt few years my son and nephew hunted with me I made sure the were comfortable in the stand, if they got cold we took a break and warmed up back at the truck, simple things like that. I focused on them getting a deer and forgot about myself for those couple of years. They both are 24 now and we look forward to hunting every year.

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Excellent advice. On that same vein, make sure you're relaxed. Nothing worse than a tensed up parent for a kid unsure of herself in the first place. Not that you're a tense fellow, or anything, just that a person can want the hunt to go well so much. If she realizes it's a fun thing, an enjoyable time, she'll want to keep doing it. In my experience, smart kids learn all sorts of lessons on their own, and I've caught myself several times in the past trying to teach them lessons they've already learned. A word in season, as the Good Book says, is enough.

Be safe, and have a great hunt. grin.gif

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Dinner Pail - that is great advice. My dad took a similiar approach with me and I still remember those experiences. The poor guy didn't even get close to a dear during my first few years, but when I lucked into one, I think it was just as good or better for him. I will take the same approach with my kids when the time comes.

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Patience is definitely a virtue. smirk.gif When I first went hunting with my dad, I had all kinds of questions....why this...why that...what...where....how.....etc. Kind of like a 4-year old asking "why why why" all the time. smirk.gif Fortunately, my dad is an extrememly patient person and didn't get frustrated with all my questions. Other than that, what's already been said is great advice. Focus on your daughter and try to make it enjoyable for her. I plan to do the same with my son in 9 years....and my daughter in 11 years, if they are both interested in hunting. Good luck!

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Thanks for the sound advice.

Bob

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good luck, hope you get something

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Don't forget to show her all the little things in nature that people miss when they are cruising at 60 mph. Little things like funny squirrels, blue jays, pilliated woodpeckers, cardinals. The sounds of the woods waking up etc... Those are the things that make hunting more enjoyable than the pursuit of game. I don't have any kids yet, but when I do, taking them hunting will be one of the things I look forward to the most. Good luck man, enjoy your time.

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Great topic! Everything said so far has been great advice. My dad growing up put scoops of sand in his boat so I could play with my trucks while we fished for walleyes on Mille Lacs. He let me fill his doe permit during a year when they were "scarce" to get. (My first deer!)

Lots of pressure these days to shoot only BIG BUCKS, sit out all day no matter how cold, mom or dad drops you off at your stand in the morning and picks you up at the end of the day...."Now sit here and DON'T MOVE!" Like what was stated previous, relax and don't fall to those pressures of a BIG HUNT....their 12. They have their whole hunting career ahead to put those pressures on themselves, they sure don't want them from anyone else.

Everybody that has replied up to now sounds like a great dad themselves or grew up with one and that's great to see.

I'm gonna get some flack for what I'm about to say but here goes: MY perception these past few years is that we're concerned about the future of our hunting heritage in this country yet moms and dad's are so wrapped up in their hunts that the kids don't always have an enjoyable experience and lose interest in a hurry....so we solve this by creating "Youth Hunts" (Which I'm against by the way). Ban the parents from focusing on themselves so they can focus on the kids. How about a little sacrifice on the parents part and share the experience together as a parent should do. OK, off my "soapbox".

Well stated earlier that you may have to sacrifice a year or two of "your" hunting for your daughter.....the payback will be GREAT....even if they decide that hunting isn't their gig. I have a 1 year old son and I'm jealous of you right now! My anticipation of hunting with him in the future is great! Have a great hunt!

fishin'

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One more thing - if you can afford it, make sure you buy the kids good gear. The fastest way to make it no fun is for them to be wet and cold, while Dad is toasty warm in his goretex, thinsulate super good gear.

For girls (I have three young ones), you need to make sure they have a place to pee. I carry a little porta potty in my boat and it makes a world of difference.

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I agree with JDM. Bring at least 1 roll of good TP for your daughter and since she's 12 she will have her own preference on how she wants to deal with that. Ask her now so you don't have an uncomfortable moment later in the woods when she really has to go. Same for you. I don't know your relationship, but she may not be cool with you unzipping behind a tree with her nearby. 12 yr old girls you know tongue.gif

My girls are still younger, but they don't mind a 6-gal bucket. You can also buy a toilet seat to fit the bucket and chemical packets to treat the "bags" after they've been used. Pretty cheap insurance on simple logistical matters.

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Make them comfortable and happy and the rest will follow. I remember my very first year. I didn't carry a gun, I just followed dad and asked a million questions. He ended up shooting a buck in front of me in what I'm remembering as a "HUGE" swamp. The swamp isn't as big as the memory is but me and dad still talk about that day. And I don't have kids and probably never will but my "old man" got to ride his first 4-wheeler last season and sit in his first ladder stand last year as well. He even let on that he didn't think that those "wheeler things" were so bad anymore and why I didn't buy one sooner. He's kind of like a kid to me and now that he's getting on in his years I'd rather see him shoot a deer then me. I remember how dad treated gramps those last five or so years. Always got the stands that were sure to get the deer and only drove when they wanted to.

So folks, don't forget the old timers out there either. They are the reasons we are here doing what we are doing.

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Well?....How did it go? I'm anxious to hear! : smile.gif

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Quote:

I'm gonna get some flack for what I'm about to say but here goes: MY perception these past few years is that we're concerned about the future of our hunting heritage in this country yet moms and dad's are so wrapped up in their hunts that the kids don't always have an enjoyable experience and lose interest in a hurry....so we solve this by creating "Youth Hunts" (Which I'm against by the way). Ban the parents from focusing on themselves so they can focus on the kids. How about a little sacrifice on the parents part and share the experience together as a parent should do. OK, off my "soapbox".

Well stated earlier that you may have to sacrifice a year or two of "your" hunting for your daughter.....the payback will be GREAT....even if they decide that hunting isn't their gig. I have a 1 year old son and I'm jealous of you right now! My anticipation of hunting with him in the future is great! Have a great hunt!

fishin'


Lots of good advice here. Fishin' - you did hit a nerve and I was guilty of keeping my son out too long on his first trips instead of making it HIS hunting or fishing trip as someone earlier advised and....... regret it today. If I had it to do over again and he said he wanted to go in after only a couple hours we'd go in. It may have made no difference in the end but not being more sensitive was a mistake no matter the outcome.

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I know Saturday morning was a bit crisp for her even though it really wasn’t very cold at 15 degrees but we brought some chemical toe warmers and hand warmers and gave it a shot. She surprised me first because she actually got up at 4:30am and second because she stuck it out all day Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday we got to our blind that we built on a ridge at about 6:30am. At about 7:30 I gave a couple grunts on my True Talker and in about 5 minutes we could hear something approaching. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a doe sneaking through the brush about 25 yards south of us along the bottom of the ridge. I asked if she saw it and she nodded yes. I told her to be patient and wait for it to get into a more open area. Then we got another look and realized it was a huge timber wolf. There was a slight breeze out of the northeast and when it caught our scent it stopped. I moved my head to get a better look and it caught sight of me decided to leave. This was the first timber wolf I had ever seen in my 35 years of hunting in northeast Minnesota. My daughter thought that was quite exciting but it gets better.

About 5 minutes later we could hear some more footfalls, one deliberate step at a time. I told her this was definitely a deer sneaking up on us. We were sitting on a ridge that curved east on our north side and the sound was coming from around the ridge. Fortunately, my daughter was positioned to get the first glimpse of the deer. Her eyes grew to the size of saucers and she motioned that it was a “HUGE buck” and it was very close by. I don’t think I will ever forget the look on her face at that moment. The deer stopped about 30 yards to our north. He was snorting and stomping his feet aggressively. He wasn’t looking in our direction and being upwind couldn’t catch our scent. I believe he was challenging the grunt he heard.

All I could see was its rump from behind some trees and I asked her if she could see it. She said she could only see his head so I told her to get ready and just wait for him to step out in the open. She turned to position herself a little better and the rustle from her clothing was enough to get the buck to make a single jump. Now it was broad-side and wide open. I told her, “There’s your shot, take it!”

She surprised me that she actually did. I wasn’t sure she had it in her to shoot at a deer. I couldn’t tell if she hit it or not with that .410 so I told her we would just relax, have a cup of cocoa, and wait for about 15 minutes. If it was wounded that would give it a chance to lie down and bleed. We were talking about what had happened when she suddenly said, “I can see him!” I couldn’t see it but she indicated it was too far for the .410 so I told her to trade seats with me so I could get her view. Man she’s got good eyes. I couldn’t see that deer at first so I lowered my weapon and increased the scope power and there it stood about 75 yards away through the brush. I could see the front shoulder so I took him there. We gave it another 15 minutes while we calmed our nerves before we went to see if she hit it when she shot.

Oh man, the excitement in her eyes was memorable. If only I could have had a video camera running. She was still shaking when we later decided to go see if we could find a blood trail. We couldn’t find any evidence that she had hit it but found a blood trail where I shot at it. We found it laying about 20 yards later. When we were skinning it out we discovered that it had been hit twice. My daughter got her first deer within 1-1/2 hours on the first day of her first hunt! A nice 165-170 lb. 7-pointer that would have been 8 except for one broken tine. The rack wasn’t huge as it was a young deer but who cares.

That wasn’t all. My brother also had his 12-year old son out on his first hunt. At about 11:45 he nailed a 180 lb. 10-pointer with 19” spread. Very nice even rack with rather heavy beams. Fortunately for him, my brother has been a long-time member of MDHA and a while back they had a program where they would pay to mount a youth member’s first buck. The program has since been discontinued but they are going to grandfather my nephew’s buck into the program because my brother remained a member in good standing. He will get a full bust mount all paid for by the MDHA! What a first day of hunting!

Sunday we didn’t see a thing all day and I could tell she was getting fidgety but she stuck it out all day. At the end of the day I asked her what she thought of her first weekend of deer hunting and she said it was fun. I said, “Even today without seeing anything?” She said that it was definitely a long day. I told her that I couldn’t lie to her that normally the days can be bit long but it’s all in how much you learn to enjoy all of the other aspects. Like just enjoying nature and the many other wildlife and the antics they pull and that some days can be long but it’s all worth it when the moment of truth arrives.

I asked if she would like to do it again next year and she said yes. I am planning on going up again next weekend to hunt with my brother-in-law and she wants to go along. So far, looks pretty positive. I truly enjoyed having her along with me on the hunt. It was most enjoyable to witness.

Sorry about the long post but it was too exciting to pass up.

Bob

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BobT,

Great story! A combined effort, father/daughter, on her first deer. You probably couldn't have predicted as much excitement as what you got out of the weekend, even just the first day alone. She's going back next weekend ...... she's hooked! I've heard stories from different people this year about taking their kids out for the first time...all of them came back positive, just like yours, and that was great to hear! Best of luck to you both next weekend!

fishin'

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great story I am very excited for the day my son gets his first deer and I think that will be my trophy of my life time. thanks for the post. Good luck to you and yours.

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Bob,

I didn't catch this post the other day but last year I had two of my 12 yr olds (son & daughter)out for their first time and both shot their first deer. This year as 13 yr olds they are both in my stand as my hunting partners son is 12 this season and hunting for the first time. They both also got a deer this past weekend and I went without! I let them take the first crack every time a deer appeared unless it was multiples where we could try to divvy them up.

I honestly told my wife last week that I was really struggling with how I felt about this season as usually the days before opener were always filled with that anticipation and excitement we all know and love. This year I wasn't getting it, instead I was focused on them again and hoping that they had their chances, etc.. Now my excitement is all about that "hoot" when they realize they got one, that reaction when a deer appears to them----it is special.

Last week one night, my wife asked my daughter how she can stand to sit in the deer stand all day long? She looked at my wife and immediately repeated something that I had told her last year in the stand that caught me totally off guard and let me know how focused and special this is to her. That was priceless!

One thing I can get away to some extent in my stand (4' x 8' enclosed) is some light whispering/talking especially during non-primetime. This year after my son got his deer, I asked my hunting partners son if he wanted to move down with me since we were seeing a bit more action. He immediately accepted and the first thing he said when he got in the stand was how glad he was that he could talk and I could share some of my hunting stories and things like that (he sat with me last year all opening weekend)---he misses that with his dad since they have to have more noise control. Not even my own son, but also pretty cool.

Lastly and maybe as important to me as any of the above! A few years back I brought along one of the neighbor boys to firearms safety as he wanted to attend but neither of his parents are hunters but his grandpa still hunts. Well that young man got his first deer this past weekend with his grandpa in the stand with him and I couldn't be happier!

I don't think I could have ever understood how much I would enjoy hunting with my two that hunt and how special it is to me to share all of these firsts! Loved your story about your daughters first deer.

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Congrats to your daughter and you. Great story! I think you got a parntner for life. smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

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