What age did you start your kids backpack hunting?

7mag.

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My son is 6 and wants to go, but I'm afraid he won't have fun hiking in to the places I go. I'm worried he may be too young, so what age did every one start their kids out?
 

cmeier117

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I was going to ask this very same question. But just about taking them over night on a scouting trip? Like to hear what people have done.
 

2rocky

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starts in the summer with just hikes.

Kids gotta feel real comfortable overnight in the woods. plenty of group camping trips at the truck .

I haven't been able to get my girls on the trail with me yet.

he needs to be begging to go and should say," when can we do that again!" when you are done. Wearing him out on the first trip is a sure way to douse the fire.

if you have a friend with a kid his age,to join you, do the first over night, just a mile from the trailhead. We aren't talking even hunting yet. just feeling comfortable in the outdoors, away from a lightswitch.

I think the weekend trips to deer camp and day hunts made me crave the back country trips more. I was in my 20's before I bivied out on a hunt.
 
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bighouse31

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Started taking my boys pheasant hunting when they were 4. If they only lasted an hour so be it when I took them it was all about them and nothing else. Now they will spend 3-4 hours in the pheasant field with me. Last year I took my 6 year old on my WSMR Oryx hunt and again made it about his experience. I could have killed a bigger Oryx but this one presented the opportunity for my son to make the entire stalk with me and be there at the shot. This May I took my now 8 year old and 6 year old to OR for a 5 day black bear hunt. Taylored it around them to where we only did short hikes to glassing points and only hunted a few hours a day and mixed in a lot of fishing, ground squirrel shooting, shed hunting and just messing around. Didn't see a bear until the 4th evening and they were still going strong. Alter the trips you take them on to fit their needs and not yours and they will be planning your fall hunting season for you before you know it.
 

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muleman

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In my circle, 12 seems to be the magical age. This age is somewhat artificial though, as it is the age you can start to hunt big game in Utah. I have a nearly 11 year old daughter who will start to hunt next year. She says she wants to hunt but she isn't physically or mentally ready for backpack hunting. Her 9 year old brother is physically ready to do some light backpacking but not mentally ready.

2rocky has some good points, the kids can't be scared to come back or think that it wasn't any fun because you hiked them too hard or with too much gear.

Last week on a week long camping trip, the fishing fire really ignited with my 9 and nearly 11 year olds. They wanted to fish all the time and begged us to let them go to the lake by themselves. This is the kind of fire I think kids need about hunting before they go on a serious backpack hunt. Depending on the mental preparation of your 6 year old. I would think you could do a couple of mile overnighters with you carrying all the gear. Of course he will want a pack on his back, use a hydration pack with a small amount of gear and water.

Try your boy out on a couple of easy overnighters and build that desire for more. I am firm believer that kids will accept as normal whatever they are exposed to.
 

Jeff Martin

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She is 9. I let her pick her on fletchings and make it fun. It is obviouse, she chose 3 different colors. Having fun is the name of the game at this age.

Kobie.jpg

groupings.jpg
 
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Curtis C

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Lots of good answers above. I would only take a young kid on a hunt that you are willing to lose days on. Doesn't mean you will have to, but if they get tried and cranky you will need to get them outta the woods and back home. Its prolly better to start them off slowly with a single overnight trip and access from there.

C
 

cmeier117

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Lots of good answers above. I would only take a young kid on a hunt that you are willing to lose days on. Doesn't mean you will have to, but if they get tried and cranky you will need to get them outta the woods and back home. Its prolly better to start them off slowly with a single overnight trip and access from there.

C

That is my plan. My son is 2 and my wife is due monday for my second. He goes on mile long walks with me and I am getting him a backpack to wear so he looks like dad!
 

Backpack Hunter

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I'm sure my answer to this question has changed over the years as we have had more kids and in essence they changed the answers for me.
My wife and I have started all of our children out on hiking at a very early age, before they could walk even.
Having said that my oldest daughter started hunting with me around 4yrs old, and really began to backpack hunt and overnight camping at 6 or so. Our youngest was not even close to being able to go hunting at 4.

Having said all of that I guess what I'm trying to say is that it depends on the desire of the child and their particular development.
 

hodgeman

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Depends on the kid....

My son has been on a couple of overnighters at 10 and probably a couple more this year...a week long trip? Not yet.

He day hunts like there is no tomorrow however.
 

2rocky

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AZ ron has a good story about taking kids hunting. It might be on his blog. He should chime in...
 
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7mag.

7mag.

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Thanks, for the input, every one. My son (6), is really into fishing, we go a lot. He also loves day hunts (actually half day hunts), but has been asking to go on some over nighter's. He loves to go duck hunting, and will sit in a blind freezing to death, with out complaint, all day. I just don't want to take him into the wilderness too early, and ruin his desire.
 

T43

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I have an overnight scouting trip planned with my 4 year old later this month. She has been asking to go since she was 2. She has her own little pack and will haul water snacks and a change of clothes. The 2 miles to my perch are easy and she should have no problem even if we have to come out in the dark. I'm still not sure she is ready but she is so I will just do what it takes to make it fun.
 

Nick Muche

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My dad started me pretty young. I shot my first deer with a bow when I was 10 in the UP of Michigan. I was with him on many hunts before that though! Good times. When I have children, I will take them as soon as possible.
 

muleman

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Took my 9 year old out for a ~3 mile overnight scouting trip this weekend. He had a blast. I carried his sleeping bag and pad. He carried his clothes water and food.
P1030432.jpg

P1030431_rotated.jpg


We saw moose, mountain goats, mule deer, and the ever popular chipmunks.
P1030434.jpg
 

thru-hunter

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5 seems to have been the age for my three boys to start going on day hunts. At 8 they seem capable of 5 mile plus hikes in the mountains and at 10 my oldest is begging to keep going. At 8 I would take my middle son on a black bear hunt but not as the shooter. At 10 my oldest can handle his 7mm-08 very well and has his hunter education card.

Here are some pics from a couple recent hikes






pack-packing


My whole crew. Ages 5, 8, 10. The first few pics are from a longer more challenging hike. This pic was just a quick 3 mile trip on a pretty nice non-technical trail. Best part of this one was 2 different groups of cute teenage girls were coming out as we were going in. Gave me a great opportunity to teach the sons that the wilderness is a good place to meet ladies! Now I just need to get them set up with some cutoff jean shorts!
 
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