I have always thought that a child with a gun or fishing pole in their hands is better off than a child with a ipod in their hands. Hunting and shooting have low accident rates because we place so much emphasis on gun safety. Although hunting and shooting should be fun, teaching children to be safe hunters and shooters is our responsibility. Some of my greatest memories are when me and my daddy were hunting and fishing. Even if you do not have kids, these pointers can apply to your brothers kids or even your neighbors kids. The point is to introduce children to guns and the outdoors and instill a positive outlook in their minds. As much corruption as we have in the world and all the politically correct parents, schools and government leaders we have trying to push anti-gun policies, we as parents, shooters, hunters and our children are the only hope we have in conserving our sport for future generations.
- Take out the mystery
It is human nature to want what we can’t have or what we shouldn’t have. Young boys especially, find guns fascinating. Keeping your guns forbidden and mysterious will only increase their desire to get their hands on it and them doing that without our permission is what we don’t want. Let your kids handle your guns from time to time under your supervision. Show them how to handle them responsibly, how to verify the chamber and magazine or cylinder are empty. Teach them now that the only time you ever put your finger on the trigger is when they want the gun to go off. Teach them to put the gun in a safe direction.
- Get them a BB Gun
Owning a BB gun can teach children good safety habits or bad ones. Kids of my generation roamed the woods with Red Ryders and no parental supervision. Give a child a BB gun a year or so before he or she is ready to start shooting bigger guns. Store it with your guns and make a point of treating it like a real gun. Let your young hunter bring it along, unloaded, on short hunts with you. Insist that he carry it with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Pack a few BB’s along for some safe target shooting at the end of the day.
- Take a child shooting
The more often you take your children shooting, the more practiced they’ll become in handling guns safely. At the range, insist that muzzle always either points up, down, or downrange. Keep control of the ammunition yourself, and give them one shell at a time. Kids will be careful about muzzle control until they fire a shot. In the excitement of hearing the gun go bang, they will turn to you, swinging the gun, or drop it down so it points at their toes. If the gun is empty, it’s a teachable moment, not a potential tragedy. Insist on eye and ear protection, and emphasize its importance by always wearing it yourself.
- Your child’s first hunt
Their first hunting experience should be on something easy and fun. Squirrels are probably the best for a first time hunter as they are plentiful and usually pretty easy to shoot. Sit with your little hunter and whisper advise on when to take the safety off and when to shoot. Remember to lead by example. Nothing you say speaks as loudly as your on actions as you and your child hunt together. Remember that kids get bored really easy so try and make it fun for them. If they miss their first squirrel, no big deal theres probably another one in the next tree over. Also don’t be surprised that if/when your child kills his or her first animal that they seem a little traumatized by the thought and sight of realizing they just took somethings life. I have seen children that have killed their first animal break down and cry and I have seen children try and play-off their feelings by jumping around and laughing. This is the time where we as parents/hunters have to explain the reason why we hunt or fish. That we use the meat to eat and that it is our responsibility as responsible hunters and fisherman to conserve wildlife.
Good luck to you and your little hunter / shooter / fisherman. Remember to have fun and make it a positive experience. Give your child the gift of the outdoors before some tree-hugging, politically correct anti-gunner fills their head with hogwash.
Written by Zack Phillips, owner of http://www.shootersplus.com/. Shooters Plus is a stocking dealer of quality guns and shooting accessories.
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