How to Raise a Hunter

You can't force your child to be a sportsman. But if you find the right way to share your love for the outdoors with him or her, you can create the best hunting partner you'll ever have.

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Keith McCafferty

Table of Contents

Online Exclusive:More resources to help young hunters

The Story: By Kieth Mccafferty
You can’t force your child to be a sportsman. But if you find the right way to share your love for the outdoors with him or her, you can create the best hunting partner you’ll ever have. Here is one man’s story of how he did it. … Read More

A Love of the Wild: By T. Edward Nickens
To pass along a passion for wildlife and a strong conservation ethic, you need to instill in your kids an understanding of animals that has more to do with science than Disney. Pair that with your own enthusiasm for the woods, and the result will be a lifelong awe of the wild-and a conservation ethic that makes itself known in the field and at the polls … Read More

The Safest Sport: By Philip Bourjaily
As an overprotective modern parent who gets nervous when my kids ride bicycles to a friend’s house, I would not teach my children to hunt if I thought it were dangerous. Better they have a gun in their hands, than, say, a skateboard. Hunting and shooting have low accident rates precisely because we place so much emphasis on gun safety. Although hunting should be fun, teaching kids to be safe shooters doesn’t call for much sense of humor. Treat the topic seriously, and children will respond to the gravity in your voice. … Read More

Do the Right Thing: By Bill Heavey
You can’t treat “teach son hunting ethics” as another item on your Saturday to-do list. Helping a child develop a healthy respect for the wild and a hunter’s place in it is a matter of character, and that is not created overnight. Raising an ethical child is a long process, like building a rock dam across a creek. You have to thoughtfully choose and place the stones, a single one at a time. … Read More

Coping with Killing: By David E. Petzal
If you give a youngster a tennis racket or a soccer ball or a baseball bat, you can teach him or her about sportsmanship and competition. If you give a boy or girl a gun, you teach that child about life and death. People who kill things can be more reverential of life than people who do not. The person who causes creatures’ deaths and watches them struggle against it has an intimate knowledge of the tragedy of life departing. Nonhunters choose to ignore the fact that animals must die in order for us to eat, and hold forth on the cruelty of hunting while wolfing down veal scallopini that a week earlier was a terrified calf bawling in a slaughterhouse. Death is part of life for us and for all things. … Read More

Beyond Hunter Ed: Programs That Keep Kids in the Field: By Philip Bourjaily
Congratulations, your child has passed hunter education and has a solid grounding in safety and ethics. Now what? There’s so much more to learn, and the next steps are critical; as many as one-third of those who finish the class don’t hunt the next year. If your young charge is all cammied up with no place to go, check out these state and private programs. … Read More