After harvesting a wild turkey last spring in our home state of Missouri, my now 7 year old daughter, Hailey, wants to try her hand at deer hunting. This blog series will detail our effort from pre to post-hunt along with a few tips for introducing newcomers to deer hunting.
"Why hunt here, dad?" Hailey asked with sincerity.
"Deer like this spot. We are going to finish planting the food plot to give them more of a reason to come through. Maybe it will result in an opportunity for you to harvest your first deer this fall." I explained.
"Cool, can I help spread the seed?" Hailey was eager to give it a try. After all, what seven year old wouldn’t want to walk around a muddy field with rubber boots on and crank on a nifty device all the while slinging seed all over the place?
I opened the bag of seed and helped her pour it into the hopper. I smiled realizing my daughter had a solid understanding of the potential results of our work. She knew a little effort now may pay off with venison on the table in a couple of months. Mentoring a first time youth hunter this fall on a deer hunt? From a scouting and preparation standpoint, here are a few items to consider:
• Before scouting an area with your budding hunter, try scouting on your own well in advance. Pick out the general area you plan to hunt based on past experience or sign you notice. This way the scouting trip with your hunter will be productive and focused, maximizing your time together and sparking interest for future trips. • Keep outings short, simple, and fun. There are a number of activities competing for our time, especially for youth.
• Pack food and drink; keep your hunter comfortable.
• Consider setting up a trail camera. These are fun to set up, keep the interest of most youth, and make for an exciting follow-up trip to see results. • If planting a food plot or installing a blind (blinds are excellent choices for first time hunters, allowing comfort and concealment) involve your new hunting partner as much as possible while keeping fun at the forefront. Consider using simple food plot mixes (vita-rack products are ideal).
• Through discovery, help guide your hunter through the scouting process. Rubs, scrapes, trails, and food sources are great items to point out. Help your hunter understand why you plan to hunt where you selected without introducing to many terms or details.
• Your goal through scouting should be to build a base for excitement leading to the next phase in the hunting process. This is accomplished with a little work and planning from the mentor. The real work can be exposed as the hunter grows and gains a full understanding of the process. However, if all components are presented too quickly, without success your hunter may view hunting as too much work, and may drop the activity before they get started.
Hunting is an activity dependent upon mentoring. The seeds you plant in the ground in preparation for a first-time hunter may also start a seed for a lifetime hunting partner.