Whether you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, getting them involved in the outdoors is the greatest gift you can give. Matching activities to their age, abilities, and interests is just as important as is size and color when buying clothing. Like a toddler with a wiffle ball and bat, you pitch so that the child will have fun and success and will welcome the game another day. Likewise, introducing youngsters to deer hunting begins long before he or she can actually carry a rifle or qualify for a license. Kip Adams hits this post out of the park; it’s a great read for hunter mentors. You’ll particularly enjoy his daughter’s Katie’s list of things that make deer hunting fun.

MD Spring Turkey 09 071We hunt for many reasons – to be with family and friends, to spend time with nature, to provide meat for the table, and because it is fun. That last reason should not be overlooked when introducing a new deer hunter to this wonderful pastime, especially when that new hunter is a youth. Families Afield programs have removed barriers for more than 1 million new hunters to go afield since 2006. That is important for the future of hunting, and a great way to ensure these new hunters remain in the fold is to make it fun for them.

I have a young daughter who went on her first hunt with me when she was 2 years old. In November 2008, being securely bundled in a chest pack, Katie participated in a bear drive. I wasn’t carrying my rifle, and our crew did not shoot a bear that morning, but there’s no denying we were both an integral part of the hunt – me as a driver and Katie as a future hunter.

Katie has been on numerous hunts with me since that day.

Opening day of spring gobbler – check.

Opening day of archery – check.

Photo: QDMA
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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.