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Kids and hunting


Brownie77

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How old do you all feel a kid should be before they tag along hunting? I want to take my 4 yo little girl along bear hunting this fall. I was thinking of maybe putting a bird feeder close to the blind so she could at least watch birds, or the occasional deer that wanders by, no I am not worried about any bears coming ot the feeder. BUT I am seeking opinions on taking a bear in front of her at that age, or should we just go sit and "hunt" without a gun. Taking an animal is not that important to me, but spending quality time in the woods with my kids is.

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I would say that sounds a little dangerous for a 4 year old to tag along bear hunting. I think it would probably be best if you found a different activity for you and your daughter to share

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I feel it is a lot safer than taking her Deer hunting. Bears RARELY attack anyone in MN, and being 10' up in an enclosed stand, well why is it dangerous?

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I guess that is true I have never gone bear hunting, but i have always thought of them to be more dangerous. I guess in the end it is up to you but if it was me I dont think I would want a four year old to see me shooting anything. I think i would wait a little longer either way.

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4 seems young to me. If you want a future hunting partner I would move them in slowly. What happened to starting kids off squirrel hunting, or duck hunting when the kids don't have to be so quit and can ask questions. Those are hunts that you can be more interactive with your child and they enjoy more. It seems people these days want to skip the learning curve and jump into big game.

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I started off just being able to walk with small game hunting, then upgraded to carrying an empty bb gun when I was about 8 or so (to make sure I handled it safely, etc), and after I passed that test, then I got to carry a loaded 22. I got to use my neighbor's 410 when I turned 10.

I didn't start deer hunting until I was 12.

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at 4 would she even be able to comprehend what is going on? I hear ya though. if i had kids, i'd be introducing them to hunting at a young age. but i think at that age the way to get her interested may be with hunter ann and hunter dan kinda toys. a hunting barbie!

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I think its a bad idea. My first time bear hunting I stayed in my stand till about dark since thats when the bears most often show up. Walking out from the stand I almost walked into a bear who was using my trail to go to dinner, I was 6 ft from the bear when I saw it. How would a child act being six feet from a bear. What if its a sow with cubs? One of my next trips I showed up to the stand at 3 P.M. and what disappointed to see my bait pile had already been hit. I looked and there was still some food left so I went to my stand. As I climbed my stand and sat down I could see movement in the bushes right next to my bait pile. The bear must have been eating when I showed up and only moved to the thick cover right by my bait. The bear stayed in the thick cover and approached my stand from directly behind me. The bear came to my tree put its front feet up on the tree about 6 ft from my boots and started sniffing. I still didn't have my gun loaded from climbing the tree. I was nervouse enough my boot heals started to click on the stand and the bear backed off. He must have been hungary because 5 minutes later I shot him with his head in a icecream bucket full of old jelly. I'm not afraid of bear but when a real close encounter ocurs my heart really speeds up and realize I am vulnerable. Take her grouse hunting or scouting first. Shed hunting is another great one.

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I have a 3.5 year old and started taking her grouse hunting when she was 2.5. We would simply walk the trails near the cabin (and I mean near, like maybe 100 yards total walk). We would stop a lot and talk about the trees or the plans or the rocks or whatever. She uprooted about 100 button mushrooms and thought it was the coolest thing. Sometimes I would have to pick her up over a log or unload the shotgun and carry her a little bit. The dog though we were nuts but she had a great time with Daddy. Of course we didn't shoot anything but I shot several grouse without her and she got to see them and play with some feathers.

That same fall she was at the cabin when I shot a bear. She saw it and rubbed its fur and touched its claws.

This past fall we went on longer walks and even a 4-wheeler ride away from the cabin. I ended up shooting two grouse with her present. The dog wasn't along and I ground-pounded them (flame away if you desire) after making sure her ears were covered. She helped me pick them up and carry them back to the trail where we looked at them closer.

She understands full well when we shoot an animal or catch and keep a fish we eat it. She watches the fish get cleaned, fried and dropped onto her plate. She had no problem with this and will tell anybody about the process.

That said, even though she will be four this fall I will not take her bear hunting with me. There are several reasons for this decision. 1) The bugs can be killer, even with spray. 2) There is no way she could handle sitting in a stand or blind for several hours without moving or talking. 3) Coming out of the woods in the dark is a good time for accidents to happen (tripping, climbing out of a stand, etc.) that only promote future fear of the dark. 4) I don't want the added difficulty of gutting and dragging a bear in the dark with an inquisitive child in tow. Can you imagine if she fell into the blood puddle on accident? Your wife would kill you.

Note that I am not concerned about her seeing bears, getting eaten by bears, or being traumatized by hearing one die.

You mention hunting without a gun and spending some quality time with your daughter. That's cool except that bear hunting requires sooooooo much effort that I would not want to compromise my sucess/experience by limiting myself in that way.

I guess I am saying that there are easier and better ways to have a rewarding experience hunting in the woods with your daughter.

Wh1stler

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Let me clear soemthing up. My stand is about 100 yards form the bait pile with a back door that leads to a very nice trail. Take her out for an hour or so to see some birds or maybe a fisher or matren on the bait pile, climb out take her to grandpa's house than go back out to hunt for real. Why I do not know, but I would just like her to go with a a short time, not get out there at 3pm and sit for 5-6 hours, no kid can handle that, but let her decide when she wants to go home.

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I took my 4 year old out pheasant hunting and she had a great time. It was perfect. She got to move, ask question, etc. Although with the right child bear hunting at 4 might work, you might want to think about easing her into it a little. If you already have eased her in, and you know she is ready, go for it.

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We have gone rabbit hunting, mushroom hunting etc., she is the one that asked to go, I should have mentioned that.

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That doesn't sound to bad, it sounds like you have a pretty good set up for bringing her. I was just comparing to my own hunting experience and location.

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I have had things happen as well Jeff, I had a bear coming into a bait just as I was baiting. We never saw each other until we were only 10 yards or so apart, we both ran oppisite ways and that was that. I had my dad build this stand just for taking kids or firts time hunters so if they wanted to go it could be done with little to no disturbance.

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I say go for it. Just be ready to leave when she wants to leave, as you don't want to make it an unpleasant experience for her. Let her bring some toys too, so she can fiddle. Just go not expecting to get anything, and if one comes in it will be a bonus smile

I brought my Grandson "grouse hunting" when he was about 4 or so. I didn't expect to see anything (of course one got up right next to where we parked the truck, ha!) but let him carry a big old knife in a case, and he thought that was cool!

Good luck and have fun!

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You can never start them too ealry this is my little one last Sept when she was 2 years 9 months we will be driving down the road and she will pretend to shoot deer with her bow and say we have to stop and pick them up on the way home so we can eat them for dinner.

september08003.jpg

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Let me clear soemthing up. My stand is about 100 yards form the bait pile with a back door that leads to a very nice trail. Take her out for an hour or so to see some birds or maybe a fisher or matren on the bait pile, climb out take her to grandpa's house than go back out to hunt for real. Why I do not know, but I would just like her to go with a a short time, not get out there at 3pm and sit for 5-6 hours, no kid can handle that, but let her decide when she wants to go home.

Oooh! This changes things quite a bit. I would definately take her with then. Although I would try to get grandpa to come and pick her up. That would certainly be a unique twist on the 2-in-1-out tactic that just might work.

Wh1stler

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I never thougth about having grandpa come and get her, that would be a good ploy. I had to re-read you statemetn to get it, thanks.

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I think its a great idea.

I have 2 daughters, ages 6 and 8 and they are both very interested in hunting. My 8yr old has been pheasant hunting and my 6yr old has been up in my deerstand. They both love touching and playing with the game I kill and they completely understand how we "make them into meat".

My girls fight over who gets to shoot their bow first and I constantly face the questions about when they can come with. I'm excited to bring them along, but reluctant too, because I love my time in the woods.

I plan on bringing them out to watch turkeys this year. We won't be hunting, but I'm trying to find some local spots that I can get near birds and we can watch from my blind.

The only person who can decide about when your kids are ready to go hunting is you. I know its hard to explain every detail of the circumstances.

I say good for you for sharing your passion with your daughter and I hope she gets to see you shoot a bear!

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id start small... crows, rabbits, target shooting or whatever, I wouldn't jump into bear right away

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I think each kid is different and it varies. Initial post read I want to take my 4 year old bear hunting. I guess I wouldn't want to decide when she's ready, when she's ready you'll know it, when she bugs you more times than not about it you'll know. I'd maybe video some of your hunt and experiences for her to watch and she'll be ready when the time is right, maybe she is, but my 4 year old isn't ready. I trust your judgement and you'll make a perfect decision for your situation. smile

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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