Youth Hunters: The Do’s and Don’ts

Jess Kinamon // November 15

As outdoorsmen, it's our job to show the next generation our ways. Many states hold youth hunts which allow kids to hunt in non-pressured areas. This is a great way to get the next generation out and about with high success rates! However, there are lots of do’s and don'ts when taking out a youth hunter. The last thing anybody wants is for our youth hunters to have a bad experience.

The Do's for Youth Hunters

Practice Shooting Before the Season

Practice truly does make perfect. You can never expect a kid to go out and make great shots if they've never been put in that situation. Taking them out to the range before the season is very important. Not only do you want to take them to the range to get used to their rifle, but to practice all the positions they might encounter in the field. Some examples include: prone with a bipod and prone on a pack, sitting up, and shooting downhill and uphill. Practice the positions that your youth hunter is most comfortable with. 

Get Good Gear

Gear is one of the most important things to any hunter, and is even more important to a youth hunter. If they aren't comfortable, it could cause them to not want to hunt again. Going the extra mile to find them good gear is worth it. However, buying top-quality, high-dollar gear for a kid that's going to grow out of it in a year or two can be difficult. My favorite lower-budget youth hunting gear is Under Armour

Read: Youth Hunting Gear, The Essentials for Young Hunters

Keep Warm

Living in Montana my whole life has taught me something. Everything is better when you're warm enough to do it. There's nothing worse than freezing in the field while hoping that an animal will come out just so you can get back to the nice warm truck. 

Youth Hunters

Bring Snacks

Nobody and I mean nobody will complain about snacks. If you're taking out a youth hunter this year, do yourself and them a favor…get some snacks!

Scout Before the Season

It's important for a youth hunter to have success when they are first getting out in the field. It's what hooks them. So I recommend extra scouting and locating game before the season starts.


Overload Their Packs

If your youth hunter has a pack on, don't make them carry 20lbs of gear. Pain from a pack will deter youth from wanting to do it again. Make sure they have water and some food, but they shouldn't have to leave your side at all, so carry as much as possible by yourself. 

Push Them Too Hard

When hunting with a youth hunter, you no longer have only your limits to worry about, but theirs as well. I can almost guarantee that they'll reach their limits before you.

Panic When There is Game 

Buck fever is hard to control and even harder to control when your mentor is freaking out, too. The mentor's job is to compose themselves and help the youth hunter compose themselves, as well. 

Pick a Rifle They Aren't Comfortable With

If the youth hunter is scared of their rifle, then they will never be successful with it. They don't need to shoot the biggest thing you can put on their shoulder, just something that is effective for whatever game you are hunting. Take them out to the range with multiple different rifles. Don't tell them which is going to kick more or less – that way their mind doesn’t freak them out.

Then, just see which one they enjoy shooting the most! I’ve taken a few youth hunters and am proud to say so! They are some of my favorite hunting buddies! When success finds them and you happen to be there, you'll never forget the look on their face, especially after all their hard work has paid off!

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About the Author

Jess Kinamon

Jess grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana hunting elk, mule deer, whitetails, wolves, bears, and coyotes. She and her dad have been hunting together since day one and they have grown both physically and mentally. Jess knew at a young age that the outdoors were her passion and something she always wanted to pursue as a career. Mule deer and elk hunting are two things that she cannot live without, but she enjoys other things such as riding horses/packing mules, and painting with acrylics.