http://blog.winchester.com Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.1 http://blog.winchester.com/2015/what-kids-can-learn-from-hunting/ http://blog.winchester.com/2015/what-kids-can-learn-from-hunting/#comments Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:00:27 +0000
Taking your kids and irstamily hunting makes the entire experience more enjoyable. What better way to spend your favorite past time than with your own family and friends! Although hunting may be fun there are actually a ton of benefits to taking your kids hunting that you many never thought of. Being a kid who was exposed to hunting from an early age, I can assure you there is a lot to be learned in the woods. Not only is a great time to teach kids to put down the electronics and experience nature…it also opens the opportunity to have great conversations with your kids that may never have happened otherwise. It gives you hours on end without distractions to: open up, talk about things, and really become a close-knit family.
- Physical Labor – When it comes to hanging stands, cutting lanes, planting food plots, or just the general scouting, physical labor usually plays a hand. Stands are heavy, bugs can be bad, the weather can be tough and I think it’s extremely important for kids to understand what physical labor is all about. All hunters need to understand that stands don’t just go up on their own. It will lead to a great appreciation for the time and effort it takes to have a successful hunt.
- Importance of planning/preparation – The importance of planning and preparation are huge when it comes to hunting. Many times if you forget something you will just have to do without until the end of that days hunt. This can make you uncomfortable but it will also help teach the importance of getting your gear ready the night before so you’re prepared. This can help not only on hunts, but in life in general. Most people only forget their lunch or water once. Sure you won’t starve to death in a day, but it can be a long sit without any snacks or water. I’ve only done it a couple times and learned my lesson quickly.
- Disappointment – I learned all about disappointment my second year hunting. My first year was a success and I assumed it would always be that way if I hunted hard. Second year out I hunted just as hard and came up short. My dad explained that’s just the way it goes sometimes and I’ve experienced many doses of that reality since then.I think it’s great to learn how to
deal with disappointment early on because everyone needs to know how to handle it.
- Responsibility – Whether it’s the responsibility of having a gun in your possession, or the responsibility of getting your homework done, or chores done before you get to go hunting…being responsible is a very valuable lesson.
- Mental Toughness – Conditions in the field are not always ideal. There will be times that its hot, cold, buggy, windy, snowy, etc. Weather conditions alone can teach valuable mental toughness lessons
- Predation – Over the years I’ve seen coyotes do some pretty awful things to deer. I’ve also seen nature
take its course in a variety of instances, and I believe its super important to see and understand this firsthand. It teaches kids about how population control is important and how cruel nature can be if hunters do not help out.
- Cooking Skills – In our family, we cooked all the wild game we harvested. I remember having squirrel for Sunday dinner along with duck, goose, deer, and anything else we were lucky enough to take. Not only did my parents teach us how to clean it, but we also helped wrap it for the freezer, make it into canned deer meat, sausage, hamburger, etc. They also taught us early on how much healthier it was to eat wild game and why. These are things that sink in much better when you’re part of the entire process rather
than reading it in a textbook or learning it in school.
- Read Weather – As a kid weather and wind direction probably weren’t at the top of my list when it came to things I was interested in…however hunting changed that. I learned how important it was to check the weather, not only so I could have the right gear to be prepared but what stands to sit, where to hunt, and what to expect. This proved to be extremely helpful and also gave me an added interest to an area I may not have cared much about if it weren’t for hunting.
- Biology – Whether you’re out turkey hunting or deer hunting…kids have a lot of questions. When they’re seeing game or hunting it they want to know what sounds a deer makes, why they make them, the difference between a hen and drake mallard. All things that peak their interest because they’re currently engaged in the activity. It’s a night and day difference learning about animals in a high-school biology class versus being in the field and seeing and experiencing nature first hand.
- Patience – Unfortunately things don’t happen in 30-minutes like you see on outdoor television. It takes hours and weeks of hard work and patience at times and this is something that can only be taught one way, firsthand. It’s easy to become frustrated. But all it takes is just one fun encounter with a gobbling turkey or deer to quickly forget about all the long hours and suddenly the excitement of that experience trumps everything else and they begin living for the next time that happens. I can’t stress how important
the idea of patience is both in and out of hunting, and this could be one of the most important things gained from the outdoors.
- Conservation – Learning the true benefits that hunters bring to conservation is extremely important. This is a duty we adults all share…we need to teach young hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. It’s not only important for the kids to learn, but the next time they go to school and a kid or even a teacher for that matter make a negative comment about hunting, they will have the knowledge to explain why hunters are important and how conserving our land is our number one goal.
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- Ammo/Gun- When it comes to hunting the rut, there are a few states that allow gun hunting and one of them happens to be my home state of Minnesota. If you’re lucky enough to hunt deer during the rut one of the most important choices you can make is your choice in ammo and a gun. I’ve been using the Winchester Deer Season XP. It’s offered in a variety of calibers, and honestly the perfect ammo for deer. It was made with only one thing in mind, and that was to take down a deer the quickest way possible. I shoot the Winchester XPR in a .300 Win. Mag using the Deer Season XP in a 10 grain bullet.
- Scents/Sprays- I believe staying undetected in the woods is extremely important. I spray all my gear
down with Wildlife Research Center’s Scent Killer Gold prior to heading out. Next I like to use different scents around my stand such as Golden Estrus Xtreme and even put scents on my decoy to make a more realistic setup.
- Rattling Antlers/ Grunt Tube- There is nothing more exciting than bringing in a deer because of what you’ve done, whether it’s perfect stand placement or if you have called them in. During the rut I never go to the stand without my rattling antlers and grunt tube. I don’t go overboard with calling. In fact, maybe only once or twice a day but it can be unbelievable how well it works. The key is making it realistic so before you begin smashing the antlers together, start out by doing just a couple soft grunts. That way if there is anything close that you may not see you won’t spook it off by an all out fight right away. After a couple grunts I’ll usually go to a doe bleat. Then back to a few grunts followed up by a snort wheeze. This shows a fight is about to begin. I’ll then hit the antlers together and rake any bushes near by or run around if I’m on the ground. This will keep it very realistic and the most important part is to be patient after you do this setup.
- Trail Camera- None of us can be two places at once so one thing I love to do is have my Cuddeback’s out on a variety of other stands, rubs, scrapes etc. This way you can watch for the transition from your bucks being nocturnal to finally getting daytime pics. The first daytime pic I get of a big buck is usually when I’ll move in to that stand location. Over the years I’ve found two times that big bucks go from nocturnal to daytime movement. That’s usually during the rut and late season when they need to eat.
Use these two times to your advantage for the best chances of success.
- Good Apparel for Wind, Rain & Cold- Ensuring you have good apparel that will keep you warm in dry is extremely important. I’m a firm believer of sitting dark to dark to minimize the pressure on an area but to do that you have to be comfortable. Hunting during the rain isn’t usually super effective, however those minutes immediately following the rain can be amazing so the only way to get that is to sit through it. Without gear that keeps you warm and dry not only will you be miserable, you’ll be moving around and hurting your chances.
- Comfortable seat cushion- If you’re hunting a tree stand, I can’t stress how important it is to have a comfortable seat cushion. Over the years I’ve tried a wide variety and now my choice is to either have a comfortable mesh seat on the tree stand or to use a fatboy cushion. This is a heavier cushion made out of gel and is extremely comfortable for all day sits whether you’re in a tree or even in a box blind on a chair or bucket.
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After battling sub zero temps, high winds, rough water and tough hunting conditions, my Yukon moose hunt had come to an end without filling any tags. It surely wasn’t for lack of effort, but that’s the way it works sometimes. Many people get the illusion that everything always works out perfectly when you’re hunting – that’s simply not the case. This trip was a huge success in my book, but no tag was filled and that’s ok. This is one of those trips that reminds that sometimes hard work and dedication don’t pay off, but what really matters is what the experience was like for you.
I met two new people who will be friends for a lifetime. We toughed it out in some of the coldest conditions I had ever tent-camped in, and enjoyed the entire experience. We were able to see the most beautiful northern lights I had ever seen, and had the “chance” to wake up to some of the coldest mornings with everything completely froze over. Clear skies are great for the northern lights, but you better be ready for some freezing temps on those nights. As pretty as the stars and lights were I know I was secretly hoping for clouds to help keep the temps a little warmer!
In the end, the breathtaking views and incredible scenery were well worth the trip. We hunted hard but kept our spirits high until the very last minute and I think there are times people need to remember that the success of a trip doesn’t necessarily depend on the game. That is something no one can control, but what we can control is our attitude on the trip and learn to enjoy the moment at hand. This was a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to go back again someday and try it all again.
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