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Info for my son's 1st hunt

2228 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Wanatah
I need to know some information concerning my son getting started on his 1st hunt. Are there any tips or info that I need to know. He's been practicing for the last 2 months with his bow and his deer target.
I hear that since he's 11 he's gonna need some sort of classroom safety hours before he gets out to the woods. Is there a link or web site with more info that explains the rules for my youngster? Thanks, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Eat, sleep, fish!
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My 2¢...


I am not sure where you are located, or even if you are in Indiana as I know that we have several (if not many!) out-of-staters on this forum. Therefore, I will try to give you some general info, and highly suggest you check the specifics for your locale! First, you are correct in that being 11 he will need Hunter Education certification prior to hunting. While the age/birthdate for which it is required varies from state to state, ALL of them (that I am aware of!) would require an 11 year old to have it. Indiana requires anyone born after 1986 to be certified prior to even purchasing a license! While the states may differ on the age required, they are all the same when it comes to how much training they must have, which is a minimum of 10 hours. Granted, classes will vary from 10-14 hours divided between different days, but 10 hours is the minimum. Also, he will need to pass a test at the end of the classes in order to receive his card/certification which in Indiana is 100 questions (multiple choice/true or false). In the event that he didn't pass, normally there is a waiver given allowing him to hunt for that year, however he must then retake the entire class the following year.

As far as tips in general, a few things that I have learned…the hard way (I ALSO have an 11 year old who started hunting with me at 5, and also a 15 & 16 year old who go on 'occasion'!)!

#1 rule- Keep it fun! Keep in mind that their attention span is MUCH shorter than ours (well, MOST of ours…myself not necessarily included!:biggrin: ) and therefore sitting still/being quiet is NOT necessarily their idea of fun! A couple of things that I have done is take a book/magazine for them, or even a Gameboy! Play "I Spy" with them, but you can relate it to the outdoors such as identifying different wildlife, etc.
#2- Keep them warm! A child will loose body heat much faster than an adult. Therefore even if they are dressed the same as you, they will get cold quicker! Plus, they do not yet have the "mental toughness" to shrug off being cold and/or wet. I sometimes pack a sleeping bag out with me and if they get cold, let them crawl in it.
#3- Take them food & drinks! I know personally that getting hungry OR thirsty is one of the quickest ways to get me out of my stand if I forget to grab my water/snacks from the truck!! Multiply this ten fold for a child. I usually get up extra early and make my kids hot chocolate (the REAL stuff, with milk & cocoa!) and a sausage/bacon biscuit or something. There is nothing like getting up to the smell of bacon/sausage and a cup of hot chocolate (coffee for me!)…makes getting up MUCH easier for them! Plus, make it to go…eating it on the way makes that drive out there in the dark MUCH shorter for them!

Bottom line when they get tired/cold/bored what ever…leave! Keep it about THEM! The quickest way to turn off a kid from hunting is to make it miserable, especially the first few times!!! Anyway, sorry to be so long winded:dizzy: …hope this helps! Good luck to you AND your son, and I hope that you have a hunting partner for LIFE!!!

BTW- Here are a couple of links for Indiana, just in case you are a Hoosier!!!
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Hi Winchester,

The first thing you need to instill is SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY. Contact the DNR locted in Michigan City (219) 874-6824. They can direct you to all the requirements needed to get your son started.

A few pointers:

Its not about the kill. Its about getting outside and enjoying yourself. When I got started bow hunting, just seeing a deer was so exciting I considered it a successful hunt. It took several years of bow hunting before I finally connected.

Everyone misses. Even the most experieced hunters miss shots. Dont get discouraged. Another opportunity will present itself. Learn from your mistakes and practice, practice, practice. Chances are the first few times he has a shot he will be shakeing so bad from excitement he wont be able to hold his sight on the deer. Its normal, I still get the shakes. If you are with him during these close encounters you will be shaking just as bad.

ALWAYS TIE OFF. While in your deer stand make sure he is tied off with a safety harness. One fall could ruin a lifetime of future hunting adventures.

Always identify your target. Dont shoot at somthing moving in the bushes or shadows in the woods. Make sure you know what it is your shooting at.

Pick your spot (aim point) and concentrate on that spot only. Dont look at the antlers while attempting a shot, this will only make him miss. Concentrate only on the point where he wants the arrow to impact. After the hit watch the deer for as long as he can see it. Mentally mark spots where the deer traveled (right side of the big oak, next to that bush). He will have to track and retrieve the deer after the shot, which can be an adventure in itself.

And finally I would like to welcome your son to this exciting and fullfilling sport. A lifetime of fun and adventure awaits. And I would like to thank you for introducing and encouraging your son to take up the sport of bow hunting. Bowhunters are some of the nicest people that are always willing to help new comers understand and enjoy the woods.

If you have any questions, just ask.

Good hunting,
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