Kids Can Get an Early Start Hunting Wild Game


In our family most of the grandchildren also help with picking game birds that have been shot, cleaning the birds then enjoying a meal with meat that has been harvested in sportsman like way. When my grand daughter who will be 13 next month was five years old she would accompany me shooting over my Brittany on quail. Prior to going into the field, with proper safety equipment – eyes & ears, she would pull skeet for me using a spring loaded thrower and pulling the cord made her part of the process which gave her a lot of satisfaction watching the clay shoot up in the air and dissolve when I shot it. She understood what happens when a shotgun goes off and then when we would bring down quail after the dog pointed and retrieved the birds she watched me clean it. We looked at the heart and insides and talked about making meat, to eat, out of the bird. Her response was,” Ewwww that’s gross, let’s do another one.” That evening when we cooked and served our game she was given credit for being an important part of our hunt and her grandmother told her how proud she was of her grand daughter’s first hunting experience.

In my own case I was ten years old the first time I shot a rabbit and my dad cleaned it for me, explaining exactly how it was done. It was a cottontail and just about enough meat for two people so my mother invited my grandmother who was born in 1879 and grew up eating wild rabbit as one of her favorite foods to come over so the two of us could eat fried rabbit with gravy over fresh biscuits. I was on proud ten year old with the satisfaction of a successful hunting experience. From then on I had to dress out my own rabbits keep the meat in good condition and when I was an eleven year old allowed to go hunting on my own it was a nice transition time from being a young kid to becoming a more responsible person. Leading up to that time my father was adamant about safe gun handling and his exact words were, “Anytime you point a gun towards a person you have made a decision that the person can die.” He went on to explain the the direction of a bullet or shot coming out of a gun barrel is totally under the control of the person holding the gun, no excuses and keep your finger off of the trigger and the safety on until it is time for the gun to be fired.
Keep tuned in to the fatigue factor of little ones so they always have a good time and when they become high school age try to make sure they do all of the hard work. Their effort in dragging out deer a putting out decoys will help them grow strong with an appreciation for everything that goes into a successful hunt with respect for game, be it birds or deer and the fact that their demise allows us to end up with delicious meat well prepared for the whole family to enjoy.

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.