Son's first big game tag, Advice for a demanding father.

GAHunterJim

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Joined
Oct 20, 2022
Messages
86
Relax and have fun, make sure the trip is successful, regardless if you punch a tag or not. We don't need wild game to survive these days so the time together outdoors is what matters most. I follow my middle son around the turkey woods in the spring not because I want to shoot a turkey, but because I want to spend time with him doing something he enjoys!
 

Arcticmanak

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Feb 27, 2021
Messages
113
I would give up killing animals for the rest of my life for one fishing trip with my dad. Just enjoy it.
My dad has been with the Lord for 15 years now. Man does that strike a chord.

Let him have fun being a kid. Gently guide, instruct and help him learn to safely experience the outdoors without becoming overbearing and harsh. Lots of praise. Be sure that praise and compliments outweigh correction. Whoever praises a child controls a child.

Help him learn and laugh from his mistakes. If he blows a stalk or shot it isn't the end of the world. It isn't about me as a dad looking good by my son's success. It's about them enjoying the experience no matter the outcome.
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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2,109
Kudos to dad for starting this thread and self analyzing. Lot of great advice in this thread. I'm sure the hunt will go great. My oldest is 23 and still has a desire to hunt. My youngest is 13 and lives to hunt as well. Some of my thoughts below.

1- Make safety the absolute priority. Talk about it all the time in ways he can relate to.
2- Obviously, do your best to make it fun. Big game hunts were the trips that I choose to disclose some of life's secrets to my boys- the fun ones. I laugh just thinking about some of them. Have a joke or two ready or a funny story to tell him about yourself that he hasn't heard. This is special time that goes by way too fast...
3- Make sure all of his clothing and equipment fit him great.
4- Make sure he is completely confident in his abilities. I made life size targets for both boys for their first couple of years hunting big game.
5- Only let him take high percentage, slam dunk shots. Nothing can ruin an experience quicker than a wounded animal.
6- Let him do everything he is capable of doing. Try not to "show" him, talk him through actually doing things.
7- Let him dictate the pace of the hunt. 2-3 days of hunting in a row can be pretty mentally taxing on a new hunter. I like to plan a break after day 2 or 3 where we go do something completely different.
8- Take way more pictures than you ever think you will want.
9- Treat him like a young man. This is a coming of age trip that, like it or not, will likely change him.

Hope some of this helps!

Good luck to you!
 
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BATTLEBORN

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Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
653
Location
Reno, NV
Kudos to dad for starting this thread and self analyzing. Lot of great advice in this thread. I'm sure the hunt will go great. My oldest is 23 and still has a desire to hunt. My youngest is 13 and lives to hunt as well. Some of my thoughts below.

1- Make safety the absolute priority. Talk about it all the time in ways he can relate to.
2- Obviously, do your best to make it fun. Big game hunts were the trips that I choose to disclose some of life's secrets to my boys- the fun ones. I laugh just thinking about some of them. Have a joke or two ready or a funny story to tell him about yourself that he hasn't heard. This is special time that goes by way too fast...
3- Make sure all of his clothing and equipment fit him great.
4- Make sure he is completely confident in his abilities. I made life size targets for both boys for their first couple of years hunting big game.
5- Only let him take high percentage, slam dunk shots. Nothing can ruin an experience quicker than a wounded animal.
6- Let him do everything he is capable of doing. Try not to "show" him, talk him through actually doing things.
7- Let him dictate the pace of the hunt. 2-3 days of hunting in a row can be pretty mentally taxing on a new hunter. I like to plan a break after day 2 or 3 where we go do something completely different.
8- Take way more pictures than you ever think you will want.
9- Treat him like a young man. This is a coming of age trip that, like it or not, will likely change him.

Hope some of this helps!

Good luck to you!
Thanks for the insight, we leave Wednesday. I’ll report back!!
 
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BATTLEBORN

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Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
653
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Reno, NV
I told everyone I would report back. The unit/area was covered up in People, it took us a few days to get on a decent buck. My son did great with the cold weather, hiking, the whole nine!! We had a great time, and there were a lot of lessons learned!! Thank you everyone who commented and I hope this thread can be useful for another first time dad in the future. 3E6DBBD1-9627-48AA-A008-DCDCA14E6939.jpeg 90E93839-8B91-4B81-8411-DE8B78E97625.jpeg BC7293AA-ED37-4DB5-A7F5-50EB71A78DF4.jpeg FE8E6792-2A78-4A73-A2A8-92B73A740C84.jpeg BBD36D2A-10CE-44D9-BC9F-DFE3552AEDE4.jpeg
 

rclouse79

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Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
1,225
I have been working really hard to make hunting trips fun for my 12-year-old son, because it is something I would like to do with him for as long as possible. I take the mentality that he is a client that paid top dollar for me to guide him, and my tip depends on him having a good time. It was awesome to see him get genuinely excited for the first time this deer season. We got on a couple super nice bucks at 200 yards. We were set up and I thought we had all the time in the world to wait for one of them to turn broadside when a group of spooked does blew them out. The bucks stopped a couple times in range, and I kept encouraging him to shoot. When no shot was fired, I had to remind myself to chill and that it was a learning experience. The best part of the entire hunt was when he was chomping at the bit to hike over the next steep freaking ridge to go look for them. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he is hooked.
 

schmalzy

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Joined
Oct 1, 2014
Messages
929
I told everyone I would report back. The unit/area was covered up in People, it took us a few days to get on a decent buck. My son did great with the cold weather, hiking, the whole nine!! We had a great time, and there were a lot of lessons learned!! Thank you everyone who commented and I hope this thread can be useful for another first time dad in the future. View attachment 469754 View attachment 469755 View attachment 469756 View attachment 469757 View attachment 469758

Awesome Buck. Love it. Glad y’all had a great trip. He will never forget that trip.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

MtnW

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Jul 15, 2020
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136
Nice job dad!
The expression on your son’s face says it all.
NWT
 

Super tag

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Aug 22, 2021
Messages
277
I have 3 sons. My youngest is 30 now, we all still hunt together and camp like we always have. Good times.
my only advice is that typically we are too hard on them as youth, relax, take it easy, let the little things go, dont Push too hard, at his age he’s learned a lot more than you think and the things he will need to learn will come. Time with him is short so make the most of every opportunity. Have a good time and enjoy your time together.
 

KHNC

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Jul 11, 2013
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NC
Awesome advice guys, I am aware that I can be demanding (hence part of the reason for the thread😬😬). I am more excited for this hunt and to have him learn than I have been for any of mine. With that said, I also believe in proper preparation will more likely lead to success, which in turn will lead to him enjoying the experience more. We will be in a target rich until and given the time we have I fully expect us to experience many stocks. He can even shoot a doe if he desires.

One of my goals if/when he gets to pull the trigger is to make sure he is in a comfortable shooting position within about 250 yards. If stocks are blown getting to that spot, well lesson learned.

Thanks again
Well, they are "Stalks" not Stocks. :)

Good luck! I pushed my son a little to hard when he was 14 and deer hunting. At 12 and 13 he was super motivated to hunt and i thought he was ok going after it hard. One day he just came out and said he NEVER wanted to hunt again. Complete shocker. But , he eventually did start again but never with the same motivation. YOu have to pay attention to the details of their moods. You cant be hammering them into doing what you want, only what they want.
 
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KHNC

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
2,860
Location
NC
I told everyone I would report back. The unit/area was covered up in People, it took us a few days to get on a decent buck. My son did great with the cold weather, hiking, the whole nine!! We had a great time, and there were a lot of lessons learned!! Thank you everyone who commented and I hope this thread can be useful for another first time dad in the future. View attachment 469754 View attachment 469755 View attachment 469756 View attachment 469757 View attachment 469758
Nice results!! congrats
 

Rocky723

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Joined
Mar 25, 2022
Messages
74
This is coming from a kid myself. Please don’t get frustrated with him and make sure you explain everything that is happening clearly without getting frustrated. It can become very upsetting and overwhelming quickly when we get confused and if it’s his first time hunting it can be intimidating. Make it fun for him and don’t pressure him too much. Make suggestions on what to do/where to go but make it seem like he is making the decisions if he wants to ofc. Make sure he stays dry and warm. Whether that is carrying an extra layer or two for him or some extra socks and gloves. Make sure he stays warm and dry. That is what ruined hunts for me as a kid. Also make sure he is well fed and hydrated. There has been several times I’ve gotten dehydrated or not eaten and once that horrible feeling kicks in it is the worst. And most importantly cherish your time with him. This is his first time hunting so make it about him.
 

Thunder Nocked

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Jan 6, 2020
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284
Location
North Pole, AK
My son drew his first big game tag this year ( Mule Deer, Area 6 Nevada) he is 14yo. I have coached him sports most of his life and can be very demanding of him. We have been preparing physically (Me mostly as he is in in great shape), shooting and getting comfortable behind the .243 he will be using, looking at field photos of deer and talking about shot placement, and making sure all gear and vehicles are ready to roll. I'm a seasoned hunter and know the area very well but this is the first time taking my own son on a big game hunt. I want him to be successful and have FUN.

My Question and reason for this thread.

What other preparations can I be doing to with him to hopefully have a successful outcome? As most of us know things can get contentious between dad and son. Is there something specific that you did with your kids that made the experience a good one?

Thanks for the advice.
I haven't read through all the responses - but I will tell you a little about my failed experience as a first time tag holder. My father was very demanding, and I excelled at everything I put effort into. Academics, sports, etc. We started with him letting me pick a rifle which I wanted a Remington 7600 bushmaster in .30-06, we made a deal and I worked all summer and came up about $200 short of my half. He wouldn't loan me the 200 so I got a subpar rifle that I could afford. We shot a lot, we hiked a lot, and I wasn't really having any fun. I was so concerned about him being mad or disappointed that the prep wasn't any fun. It got to a point where I made reasons not to continue hiking with him and 'worked out' on my own.
Finally it came time to actually hunt. we spent the opening weekend looking for mule deer in the highland sagebrush flats about 6000 feet. First day saw nothing. Second morning after hiking for a while we sat for some tea and chilli. As we stood up my dad spotted a buck, he said "Son that is a BIG buck! You need to shoot it right now while it is standing there!"
I remember looking at that buck through my rifle and I wasn't excited, I wasn't nervous ... my only thought was 'if I miss this deer dad is going to freak out and I'm going to be in so much trouble.' So instead of shooting I looked at him and I lied to him - "Dad I'm not sure if I can get a good shot on him from here, why don't you shoot him' The words barely finished and he dropped the buck. He talked about how exciting it was, it was his biggest buck ever, and he couldn't believe how he got to do that. We went up and tagged the buck and I was intrigued as I'd never seen a deer in the field before so we talked it over and decided to go get the rig as it wasn't far away.

I hope that if I, as a father, am ever in that situation to remember to coach my kid and tell them how excited and proud I am for them. How they don't need to be scared, or nervous, that I'm there to support and help them out. And to just take their time and make a good shot.

My dad and I have never hunted together - its been over 20 years and I've never been in the field or shot a gun with him since. I got away from hunting and focused 100% on school sports and didn't get back into hunting for over 10 years when I moved to Alaska with my family, and that reminded me that I had always wanted to hunt and live off the land. And since moving to Alaska I keep trying to go back home to hunt with him and he has no tangible interest in hunting, or helping me hunt. He said he would be willing to show me where some deer hang out during season he said.

I hope to do better with my 5 kids.


*The kicker - my dad tagged the deer, we made sure it was dead, did the eyeball and testicle jab with the rifle. The car was only about 800 yards away so we walked over and we drove right back to where we had flagged the deer and it was gone. We ran into some folks we knew and one of them was a 'certified guide and tracker' if I remember correctly and after 3 hours told us someone stole our deer because the only other thing would have been a cougar and there were no drag marks. So we didn't even get that deer and my dad refused to hunt the rest of that season and then got injured.
 
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