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Rabbit Hunting Tips To Teach To Kids

Hunting, like few other pursuits, instills a sense of responsibility, ethics, and respect for our natural heritage. A kids first rabbit hunt will only be the beginning of his or her training and much preparation needs to have already taken place to get your kid ready for that first hunt.
There is no substitute for parents who pass the rabbit hunting tradition to their children. Many kids love to hunt but don't have the opportunity. Likewise, there are parents who don't know where or how to begin. Following are some tips that will help a parent or other adult taking a child on that first rabbit hunt.
Any outdoor recreation experience consists of more than the physical activity itself. A youngster can gain a multitude of values from the total experience. An understanding of the phases of any outdoor recreation experience will help ensure a successful rabbit hunting trip with your child. Those phases include anticipation, planning, preparation, travel to and from the site, the actual hunt and recollection of the activity.
Anticipation of a rabbit hunting trip has to be built piece by piece with your child. Children naturally want to imitate what adults do, provided it is done with enthusiasm and taste. Herein lies the future of rabbit hunting -- and hunting in general. Hunters must pass the heritage to their sons and daughters in a positive, passionate manner.
Sharing information with youngsters about rabbits, and using a little of your personal flair, stimulates their interest. Hunting stories are great. Sharing a wild rabbit dinner helps kids understand the connection between hunter and hunted. Additional information about life cycles, habits and habitat of the rabbit will add to the interest.
Diligent planning is of utmost importance when introducing a child to rabbit hunting. Well-laid plans ensure that each step of the experience will be successful, and each success will add fuel to the anticipation fire. Successfully completing a task also ensures enjoyment for the adult/youngster rabbit hunting team and creates an atmosphere of trust and dependence between team members. Planning is a continuous element of the total experience.
Allowing a child to help make plans for a rabbit hunting trip gives him or her ownership in the experience. Offer suggestions for places to go and foods to pack, etc., but allow the child to do some of the leg work. Writing to the state fish and game department for rules, regulations and places to hunt, or looking up the information on the Internet is a fabulous educational experience for your youngster. The key to gaining and holding children's attention when it comes to rabbit hunting is continuous involvement.
Be sure to allocate menu space for your child's favorite foods. Serving a child strange foods, or dad's "rabbit camp conglomerate," is a sure-fire way to give a child an upset stomach or, worse yet, an illness that will force you abandon the hunt. Also include quiet snacks for the hunt itself.
Preseason scouting for rabbits is a great way to involve your child. However, don't expect 12-year-olds to enjoy tramping around in the woods all day, especially if they aren't accustomed to the outdoors. Start with short scouting trips of two hours or so, and adjust upward as the child's tolerance and interest increaseScouting trips may require some creative thinking by parents or adult hunting partners. If a child is willing to spend a couple of hours in the woods with you, be willing to spend a little time on the trip doing something the child likes to do. You may take some ribbing about taking ball gloves or video games on a rabbit scouting trip, but remember who that special companion is that you have brought along. Chances are that kids will soon abandon the ball gloves and games.
Explain each "find" on your scouting trip. Make a scavenger hunt out of it. You will be surprised how quickly your student catches on and puts the pieces of the rabbit hunting puzzle together. Tracks, droppings, dens, dusting sites, and feeding zones all provide teaching opportunities. The ultimate thrill for a child on a scouting trip is to actually see rabbits in the wild.

Scouting trips add greatly to anticipation, but are only one step in the preparation phase. Firearms safety training is one of the more important elements of preparation. Hunter education courses for youth have proved themselves to be valuable, besides most states make them mandatory to get that first hunting license anyway. Hunting statistics clearly indicate that most accidents occur as a result of mistaking another hunter for game. Serious mistakes are made when hunters shoot at sound, color, or movement that they mistake for an animal. The greatest tragedy we commonly see in such "mistaken for game" accidents is that the shooter often shoots a friend or a relative; and because the accidents are at close range, the individuals being shot are usually killed or severely injured. Competition to get the first or biggest animal often allows hunters' emotions to take over while common sense gets tossed out the window. We address these problems and others in hunter education courses. These courses also teach youngsters that the overall experience of hunting -- scouting, working the dogs and being in the outdoors -- is the most important part of the hunt. Harvesting a wild animal is just icing on the cake.
Watching hunting videos together and shopping for hunting gear for the child involved is another fun-filled part of preparing for the debut rabbit hunt. Here's a tip to take to the bank: buy your child quality hunting gear, at least as good as your own. Your child will be as proud as a peacock and feel that he or she is truly a part of "the team."
The extensive preparations for taking a youngster on that first rabbit hunt provide excellent opportunities to introduce a new generation to the outdoors. As kids advance through the preparation stages, they will clearly demonstrate their desires to succeed as well as their amazing ability to learn quickly. Most importantly, they will have satisfied the "rites of passage" into the rabbit hunting ranks.
Encourage your young hunting partner appropriately. A little pomp and circumstance will go a long way toward creating pride. A compliment in front of other adults and peers will never be forgotten.
Travel to and from hunting sites consumes a considerable amount of time. This time can be used effectively for hunting teams. Reviewing safety information, setup routines, and answering those last minute questions provides important reassurance to a young hunter. Positive comments about your youngster's diligent preparation is icing on the confidence cake.
Traveling home after a rabbit hunting trip with a youngster can be one of the most rewarding times of the whole experience. Continued congratulations on successes are in order, and positive encouragement about missed opportunities lift spirits. Impress on your young partner the excitement you experienced being afield with him or her. Don't be afraid to show the emotions that you feel. Most hunters are emotionally attached to their sport. That's why we daydream about past rabbit hunts.
After so much anticipation, preparation and travel, the experience itself is sure to be a success, even if a rabbit isn't harvested. The actual hunting phase is what will be remembered most, so make all the memories possible with your child. An additional compliment about his shooting abilities, keen eyes, ability to hike or whatever, will be imprinted on his or her brain forever. By the time the whole experience is over, you will be a hero in your child's eyes, if you have done your homework. The shooting sports need the heroes, so give it your best shot.
Recollections of your rabbit hunting trip can best be enjoyed via the medium worth a thousand words -- pictures and videos. Film is cheap. Take lots of pictures; photos of your child with his or her rabbit are tops. Surprise your youngster with a framed 8 x 10" color photo later. Action shots around the campsite or hunting spot preserve the flavor of the moment. Most of all, get pictures of the two of you together. They will become priceless as the story of your hunting trip is told and retold for years to come.
The countless hours an adult/youth team spend together to bring a rabbit hunt to reality are moments that bond one hunting generation to another. Regardless of how many videos the child watches, how many other hunters he talks to or who teaches his or her hunter education course, the child will look to the adult who experienced each step of the rabbit hunting adventure with them. It will be that person that the child will refer to in adulthood as the person who taught him or her the joys of hunting. Wouldn't you like to be remembered that way?

Once the child is ready to harvest rabbits, a .410 or 20-gauge shotgun is the most practical and efficient weapon for a youngster. Single projectile weapons should be avoided at first. A kid will have much more success with a shotgun.
Rabbit hunting is a great sport. The only rabbit hunting experience greater than your personal best is one shared with a child. Rabbit hunting has a long tradition in my family and I have enjoyed the pleasure of passing it on to my sons and daughter. Through them I have learned that the greatest feat a hunter can accomplish is to train a child properly prior to his or her first rabbit hunt and then be present when the excitement of the hunt spreads all across the child's face!

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