Creating a great experience when taking a child turkey hunting, involves more than just a successful hunt with a dead bird. We all want the hunt to be successful whenever we have a child along, but the ultimate goal is simply creating a positive experience that will instill in them the desire to want to go again!
Kids are obviously much more impatient, so planning ahead of time for ways to keep a child entertained is paramount. A hunting blind is a great investment if your future hunting excursions are going to include children. It gives them the freedom to move a little and stay warmer so they can stay longer. Bring along the things that they enjoy. Electronic games are a great thing to help them during the boring moments of the hunt. I just like to make sure that there is a mute button on them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a coloring book or some action figures, throw some things in a backpack and let them bring it. Make sure to pack along their favorite drink and plenty of snacks.
There are boring times during most hunts and since we can’t just snap our fingers and make game appear, be sure to point out all the things that you see of interest and explain them. Kids are naturally curious, so take advantage of that and anything that you find or see to use as a teaching moment. Let them pick up and take things home that they might find like nuts, stick guns, feathers, antlers, etc.
Making sure that the child you are hunting with stays comfortable is one of the most important things to remember. Take along extra gloves or a jacket. Temperatures can swing with weather changes or time of day, so know the forecast and take every step to make sure the child is not cold. Remember that they are a child and telling them to “tough it out” won’t give them the desire to do it again. If they are bored sitting still for too long, then get up and move. If they say they are hungry, bored or tired and want to go home and play, then go home and try it another time.
Make it seem like an adventure and help them feel that they are an important part of the hunt! Let them do some of the calling. Have them scratch on a slate call or run the box call for a while. If they get bored, get up and move around the area that you’re hunting for a while. Sometimes it just takes simple changes in the way you are hunting to regain their attention. Every kid’s enthusiasm for going hunting differs, so don’t push him or her, but always let them know that they can come along when they want.