We can attribute all sorts of romantic notions to why we love bow hunting–tradition, the challenge, staying in tune with our primitive roots–but the plain and simple truth is, bow hunting is fun! This ideal of fun is why boys and girls want to learn the art of archery, and be able to tag along with mom or dad when they go hunting. Our children admire us, and naturally look up to us. We should keep this in mind when we make the decision to include our child in the hunt.
First Things First
Keep it fun! If we want to keep our kids interested in our values, ideals, and other passions we wish to share with them, we must tailor those lessons and keep them kid-friendly. Kids have shorter attention spans and lose focus easily. Keep activities short, and always finish on a high note. While kids have steel traps for minds, they can only take so much information in at a time–don’t overwhelm them. Remember, you didn’t learn everything you know about bow hunting overnight.
What might be common sense to us isn’t always discernible to a child; every parent knows the frustration of trying to get a point across to a kid. Sometimes kids do much better when an authority figure other than their parent is speaking. Enrolling your child in an archery program will help him or her learn important safety protocol. Most states offer hunting safety classes as well.
Keep it Simple
Before you could bow hunt, you had to learn how to shoot a bow. Though it isn’t necessary for our kids to be archery experts before taking them into the field–exposure and participation are just as important–we can aid their shooting success with a few simple tricks.
- Use a kisser button. Kisser buttons are great for establishing consistently repeatable anchor points.
- Utilize a wrist sling. A sling will encourage proper form and grip, helping to eliminate torque by keeping the grip relaxed.
- Single pin sight. Children are quickly overwhelmed when faced with too many choices at once, like determining which pin is best for the shot. An easy-to-see single pin sight works well for the novice archer. Not only will it deter confusion, but it will help establish a sense of gauging yardage.
- Use a whisker rest. This helps keep things safe, and will make shooting more enjoyable for youngsters; drawing, aiming, and shooting should be simple–kids don’t want the frustration of an arrow falling off the rest every time they go to shoot.
In the end, it’s all about our children. We have a natural impulse to pass our knowledge on to them, but they may never have an interest in learning, or might lose interest quickly. Either way, we should always take a step back when it comes to teaching; kids learn at their own pace, and what works for us may not work for them. But if you hunt, chances are they will. Just remember to keep it fun–if kids are having fun, they feel engaged in what’s going on around them. This is when we will have the most success in teaching them what we already know.