As life becomes busy, finding quality time for family gets tougher. However, this is something that deserves conscious efforts.
Not only should families squeeze time from their busy schedules, but spend it on activities they enjoy. It brings you closer and encourages bonding. When you think about family fun activities, you will probably have a trip to the beach or amusement park in mind. For simpler and less expensive pleasures, a movie or a long drive would be a good idea.
But if you are an adventure-loving family, you may want something more thrilling. A hunting trip is the coolest thing to do, though it is apt for families with grown-up kids. While the experience can be something you will never forget, it does require some planning and hard work to make it a memorable and safe one. After all, these are the two things that you would absolutely want when you spend quality time outdoors with the young members of your clan. So here are a few things that you need to consider to have the most amazing family hunting trip.
Have a packing checklist ready
Even before you start looking for the destination and picking the dates, it is important to gear up for the trip. After all, you must be prepared for any situation as you cannot expect things to be easily available in the wild. If you are an avid hunter, you will probably have a hunting checklist with everything that you may need. Essentially, it should have everything to ensure comfort, convenience, and safety. Cover all the basics like weapons, knives, body armor, fire starting kit, and camping essentials (if it’s an overnight trip). A first aid kit with all the important medications is mandatory when you are traveling with the family. Additionally, you will require navigation equipment, right from the basic area maps to advanced compasses and apps. Carry extra copies of maps and give them to the kids.
When kids are going along, you may have to modify the list a little and make it more family-friendly. Consider adding your music system, some board games, and some extra snacks and chocolates to keep the kids happy with their favorites. Have a full supply of drinking water because it is important to keep the kids hydrated and healthy outdoors. Books would make a good companion for the children if the weather goes bad and they have to stay at the campsite rather than see the real action in the hunting ground. Whatever you pack, make sure that you involve everyone in the family and have all the stuff that they may need on the trip.
Choose your destination wisely
Planning a hunting trip with family limits the choice for destinations because of the very obvious reasons. Certainly, you will have to pick a place where hunting is legal as in case of any other trip. When it’s the first time with the younger lot, choose a place that has an easy terrain and is relatively safe. There are a lot of options available if you are looking for family-friendly hunting lodges. Start by asking for references from friends and colleagues because they can share inputs from firsthand experience. You can also check online to find the best destinations around. What’s more, you may even find an amazing deal or two if you search online.
Choosing the destination for your family hunting trip requires a lot of research. Online reviews of people who have actually been there can give you a fair idea about their feasibility. Also, choose the timing of the trip carefully and ensure that it has comfortable weather at the time you want to plan the trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to land up in the middle of nowhere with freezing cold or scorching hot weather. Checking the rain forecasts is a good idea as you wouldn’t want to be cooped inside the camp for a major part of the trip. A camping destination that has different things to offer, such as a lakeside camp where the kids can swim and fish, is ideal to keep them happy and occupied. Moreover, it gives you a chance to leave them at the campsite while you explore the wild for your prey.
Rotating prey is a good idea
For hunting enthusiasts who have been doing it for years, you would want to chase bigger animals that are challenging to hunt. But things aren’t the same when you have your spouse and kids along. Remember that they do not have the same skill level, experience, and interest as you do. So rotating prey is a good idea, particularly when you have young kids who want to have fun on one of their first hunting sprees. Maybe, you could switch from elk to wild turkey or grouse so that the youngsters have a better experience. Let it be a trip for the family rather than a hunting challenge for yourself. If you want to enjoy a game in your style, you can leave the kids at the camp on one of the days and explore the jungle alone.
When you choose a prey for the trip, consider the age of the children and the risk factor as well. If the kids are too young to use firearms or dangerous gear, spending a day fishing looking for frogs is a good idea. You may simply take them on an excursion in the woods and introduce them to the treasures of nature. They can even collect some mementos to carry home and show off to their friends. These activities will give them a taste of the wild and you wouldn’t have to worry about safety risk. When they start enjoying the idea of being outdoors at a young age, you can start training them as they grow and they will surely make the most amazing hunting companions for you eventually.
Cover the safety and survival basics
While choosing the right place and time to take your family on hunting trips is important, you cannot miss out on the basic safety and survival training of the kids. Follow the basics of weapon safety and do not leave them accessible to children, even for the older ones. If they are mature enough to accompany you in the hunting ground, ensure they have a weapon training session. Invest in the right-sized bulletproof vest for them for extra protection and don’t forget your ballistic protection as well. This is something you cannot go slack with because there are other hunters out there and accidents with stray bullets are more common than you may think.
Apart from weapon training and safety, there is much more that you need to teach the kids if they are new to being outdoors. Brush up their trekking and navigational skills because they matter a lot when you are outdoors. Have a plan for finding each other if they happen to get lost. A proper safety training session is important for the entire family, more so if it is the first time for the younger lot. Educate them to avoid fiddling with wild animals, even if they look harmless. Also, make them aware of the dangers of touching the wild plants or eating fruits that they haven’t seen before. Complete knowledge and awareness make them more confident and capable of handling the worst, which is absolutely essential because you cannot be too sure.
Teach them the value of responsible hunting
Hunting is more than just a fun activity, it is something you should do with responsibility. When it comes to family hunts, you need to teach everyone else the value of responsible hunting. Apart from the legal requirements, there are some unspoken rules that you need to follow in the woods. Hunting has an environmental impact, so make sure that you are extra careful about not damaging the ecosystem. Respect the laws and regulations of the hunting areas because they will probably have regulations for baiting and bag limits. It is a good idea to know them in advance so that you do not violate any of them accidentally.
Make conscious efforts to avoid littering the area and teach kids by example rather than instructions. It is easy to throw away the empty packets and cans in the woods but they can cause pollution and environmental degradation. Carry an extra bag for garbage and make it a rule for everyone to put the waste in it rather than dump it around. Small efforts can make a big difference when it comes to responsible hunting. Add these rules in the family hunting rule book so that you do your bit for the earth.
Designing an ultimate hunting experience for your family is easier than you imagine. Just make sure that you follow these pieces of advice and you can have the best and the safest trip. Surely, you will want to be back in the wild sooner rather than later. You may even make hunting trips be a family tradition to follow year after year!