Youth Hunting Safety Tips
Teaching a child or teenager to hunt is a great way to share one of your favorite pastimes with the next generation. However, it is important to keep in mind that they don't have the experience and skill that you do, so you'll need to start off with the basics while also keeping the experience fun and enjoyable. Here's what you need to know to make sure that you both are able to create lasting memories.
Get the Right License
In order to hunt in the state of Ohio, you need to have a hunting license. If you are teaching someone who is new to the sport, they need to have a license as well. In order to obtain a hunting license for the first time in Ohio every person, regardless of age, must either go through an ODNR approved Hunter Safety Course or begin with an Apprentice License. The apprentice license allows a first time hunters to enjoy the sport under the supervision of a licensed adult without first completing a hunter safety course.
Choose Appropriate Gear
Children and other beginning hunters may struggle with gear that is designed for adults, so choose firearms and bows that are made for smaller statures. In some cases, you may be able to borrow the gear you need, but be sure to understand all the safety features of unfamiliar gear. Take the time to demonstrate exactly how to operate each piece of equipment. It is a good idea to do this before you head out, as the excitement of being out in the woods can shorten attention spans. Don't forget to highlight the importance of hunting etiquette and safety as well. And remember when using a firearm always have the safety engaged until you are ready to shoot and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Educate the Child About Hunting Etiquette and Safety
A hunter who is just starting out will likely be excited to get started and may forget the importance of caring for the environment and watching out for other hunters. Make sure that your apprentice understands that they are not just looking for animals to hunt; they should also be on the lookout for other hunters who may get in the line of their shot. When targeting an animal, be sure to have your apprentice scan the background to ensure they won't hit anyone should they miss their target.
Local hunting law requires that all hunters wear at least a cap and vest in Blaze Orange, but it is a good idea to wear more than that if the weather permits. The more Blaze Orange you and your apprentice are wearing, the easier it will be for other hunters to see you. Finally, teach your apprentice to always pick up after themselves, including casings, snack wrappers, and any other debris. You want to leave the forest cleaner than you found it to keep it habitable for the animals.
Make sure to visit us at Norton Sporting Goods to stock up on all the gear you'll need this hunting season!