-By Brandon Wikman
So you’d like to introduce your son, daughter or new friend to the outdoors? This can be one of the most gratifying feelings of your entire life. Taking a kid out just once can change their life in more ways than you think.
Here are a few alternate activities to get a person involved in the outdoors, which is not solely based on the actual hunt itself. Check them out!
Jolly Green Giant
Cultivating a beginner’s interest in a family-friendly food plot excavation can be a thrilling activity. Toss them a rake, hoe or a shovel and let them have at it! Let them sprinkle the seeds, remove debris and interact with what it means to be a farmer.
This is an opportunity for you and your new sidekick to indulge in the magical beauties of planning, prepping, planting and watching your very own hunting plot sprout! Kids don’t seem to fully grasp or realize the efforts put into establishing a lush green plot, but getting their hands dirty teaches them the value of hard work. Watching that hard work turn into the tall, green, leafy plants that you hoped for really defines the experience.
Trail cameras are perfect tools to share with kids, and your whole family. Have the child help you scout for locations to mount the cameras, and then help you set the units up. Take them back to retrieve the images and swap out memory cards or batteries. Then share in the excitement of finding out what incredible shots your game camera has captured.
Game cameras really get kids, and adults, excited about the outdoors and wildlife. You never know what kind of pictures you are going to get. It is an activity you can share all year, every week if you choose.
Tree stands may be a little out of reach for your new scouts, literally. Give them something fun to do such as concealing a tent blind. As spring approaches and the snow melts, our minds will be set on turkey-mode. This is primetime to set up a blind somewhere in the woods, along a field, or in a pine thicket where turkeys roam back to roost. Take your handy hacksaw and hack-off a few limbs for your partner to lay across the blind and have them try to turn it invisible. To be quite honest, I have just as much fun dressing the blind with limbs, grass and leaves as a novice would.
It’s nearly that time of year again, shed hunting! The pre-pre season scouting has begun and what a perfect time to bring another set of eyeballs out in the woods to help you look for antlers. Make a game out of it. I usually tell kids it’s like searching for Easter eggs, but a bit more difficult... the Easter Bunny wasn’t as fair and obvious as in past years...
To keep their attention, bring an antler for them to find while you’re out there, because sometimes it can be like walking through a barren desert. The key is to keep their attention, make it enjoyable and keep the pace.
Tuck em’ In
There’s no greater feeling than hammering on an owl call and listening to the woods ignite with the shrieking thunder of a Tom turkey! Listening to a revved-up gobbler is one of the best sounds I can think of. This is an activity that’s quick, painless and oftentimes a guarantee for quick results.
Make sure you tell your son, daughter or newcomer why a turkey gobbles and what you are doing and most importantly, why you are doing it! Let them give it a hoot and have those birds roosted for tomorrow morning.
I’ve heard it time and time again, there’s nothing better than feeling like you’ve accomplished something. Sharing an outdoor experience with a child doesn’t always have to be hunt-based. Show them there’s more to hunting than what meet’s their eye. Give your trainee an experience they’ll never forget.