Story and video by Melissa Bachman
Turkey hunting is a great adventure to bring new hunters along for the action, but there are a few things you can do to make it an even better experience for your kids or the new hunter you brought along.
One At a Time. For kids, I usually recommend taking one child at a time. Often siblings tend to fight in the field and do best when they feel like it's a one-on-one experience. All your attention is on them, and it's their time to join in the fun. Always remember to answer any questions they may have and let them join in on the calling. Explain why you are doing everything from the decoys to the calling to the setup.
Choose Nice Weather Days. Try to pick a day where the weather is nice, as this makes the entire experience more fun. Help them dress for the weather at hand that day and ensure they feel like they have the right equipment and gear that fits them. This is super important regardless of whether you’re bringing kids, new hunters, or a family member along for the fun. Even hardcore hunters have a hard time hunting when its freezing cold, raining or snowing, so try to pick the days you hunt wisely when brining someone along.
Always Have Snacks. Having a plentiful supply of snacks helps pass the time and makes it a more enjoyable experience. When we bring our son Jax, who is a year and a half, he has his own little backpack full of snacks and toys. This way he has things to help pass the time when things are a little slower.
Phone or No Phone. Phones are always a big question as to whether to allow them on the hunt. We let the kids bring their phones as it keeps them entertained during the downtime. What I’ve found is as soon as the action heats up, they set there phones down and forget all about them. I never want to make hunting a chore so anything we can do to keep it fun and exciting for as long as possible the better.
Quit When They Want to be Done. You may have been hoping for a full afternoon hunt, but if your little one is done, don’t push it. The key to making it an enjoyable experience is quitting when they are tired. If you make them stay beyond this next time they may pass on the opportunity. The key is keeping it fun and even if that means your hunt is cut short, that’s ok. You’re in it for the long haul and maybe next time the amount of time can be extended.
Give Them a Camera. If your child is too young to hunt, give them a camera. This way they can take pictures as the turkeys come in and feel like they have something they can show others in regards to the hunting experience. Always make it fun and let the little things go. If they’re being nosier than you’d care for, remind them that its important to stay quiet but don’t get upset. The entire experience should be positive, so sit back, enjoy your time with family and have fun!
About the Author: Raised by family and mentors for whom hunting and fishing were a passion and a way of life, Melissa Bachman grew up in central Minnesota, where outdoor dreams can come true. After studying television broadcasting and Spanish at St. Cloud State University, she began her career as a TV intern and then a full-time producer. With a goal of being in front of the camera, she spent every spare moment filming, editing and producing her own hunts, honing her craft and showcasing her skills. Ultimately her dreams became a reality. Today, Melissa spends more than 300 days a year in the field worldwide, filming and producing her series, “Winchester Deadly Passion,” now in its ninth season. Through her writing and videos, Melissa’s journey and commitment to the outdoors, family, the conservation of nature, and sharing has made her an ambassador for our cherished way of life.