Hunting is one of the oldest human activities in existence. We’ve done it for literally thousands of years. It’s a strange paradox, then, that today it’s also one of the most misunderstood activities in existence. A good hunting store exists as much to educate people about the practice, as it does to sell proper hunting clothing, weapons, and gear. And while it may come as a surprise to some who view the sport as outdated, there’s nothing wrong with passing along this tradition to your children, so long as you do it safely. In fact, there may even be benefits.
The first thing you should know is the law as it applies to youth hunters. Both Quebec and Ontario offer programs to help educate youth hunters aged 12 or older. These programs, which include courses on proper safety practices, qualify teens to hunt with the aid of a mentor. In Ontario, the mentor must be over the age of 18, and in Quebec, they must be 25 or older.
Many hunting stores offer training courses in archery and firearms which are open to youth. There is nothing more important than your child’s safety, and safe hunting begins with knowledge and understanding about the tools and weapons used. By providing the proper training, you are arming your child with knowledge of how bows and rifles work, how to handle them with care, and how to avoid accidents. Awareness is the most important aspect of safety.
Awareness also begins at home. When your child decides to take an interest in joining you on the hunt, it is important for you to be a good mentor. Lead by example – if you don’t follow regulations or wear the proper hunting clothing (i.e. orange vests), why should they? Make sure to always practice what you preach, as the saying goes. It’s also a great opportunity to bond. You can teach your child a whole new appreciation of nature, as well as the conservation benefits of hunting, the dietary benefits of game meat, and more. Remember above all else to have fun, and never push your child to do anything they are not ready for! Nothing can spoil a fun family outing quite like rushing someone into something they don’t feel emotionally or physically prepared for.
If you have a child who is interested in learning to hunt, look up the regulations in your province, and talk to your local hunting store about what educational courses they offer. With the right preparation and the right guidance, your child may be in for an exciting new chapter in their life that is both enriching and informative!