Introduce Your Kids to Deer Scouting

Introduce Your Kids to Deer Scouting

When Missouri opened up opportunities for young hunters, it opened exciting possibilities for families like mine. My son is turning four and has already shown a keen interest in the outdoors. With his curiosity piqued, I decided it was time to introduce him to the world of deer scouting, especially since we have already enjoyed some memorable fishing trips together.


Initially, in my eagerness to share deer hunting with him, I took on all the responsibilities. From scouting to setting up blinds and meticulously planning our outings, I did it all. This approach made my son a passive participant rather than an active learner. It was only after reflecting on our first few outings that I realized the importance of involving him more deeply in the pre-season work. Here's what I learned about introducing kids to deer scouting.


Bite-Sized Scouting Missions

Kids, especially at the age of four, have short attention spans, and expecting them to endure long, grueling scouting trips is unrealistic. Instead, break the process into manageable, bite-sized missions.

Start with short, evening glassing sessions during the summer. Sitting on the edge of a soybean or alfalfa field with a spotting scope offers a relaxed introduction to deer scouting. Ensure the weather is comfortable—neither too hot nor too cold—and be prepared for insects. A breeze can help keep bugs at bay, but a Thermacell can be a lifesaver for mosquitoes. These brief outings can teach kids the basics of stealth and observation in the outdoors.


Educate & Entertain

When taking kids on scouting trips, balance education with entertainment. Think of yourself as a podcast host who needs to engage and educate the audience simultaneously.

Whether you’re checking cameras, setting up blinds, or walking through the woods, explain each step and encourage questions. Remember, what captivates their interest might seem trivial to you. Embrace these moments—whether it’s examining deer tracks, marveling at a spider web, or discovering a shed snake skin. The goal is to slow down, engage in conversation, and let them soak in the experience.


Light Work Equals Lifelong Love

Initially, I handled all the setup work, which meant my son had little investment in our scouting trips. As a result, he didn’t value the process as much as I’d hoped. He lacked a sense of ownership and accomplishment because he hadn’t contributed to the preparation.

Involving kids in scouting and setup tasks changes this dynamic. The effort they put into the process makes their success more rewarding. Encourage them to carry small gear, help stake down blinds, and trim shooting lanes. These tasks, while seemingly minor, give them a stake in the hunt. However, be mindful of their limits—what seems like a small job to you might be significant for them. Strike a balance between participation and keeping the experience enjoyable.


Building a Strong Foundation

The foundations of hunting can be laid during relaxed summer scouting trips. Involve your kids in every step, teach them the importance of preparation, and instill a love for the outdoors. This approach not only makes them better hunters but also fosters a deeper connection to nature.


Final Thoughts

Introducing your kids to deer scouting is more than just preparation for hunting season. It's about creating memories, teaching valuable skills, and nurturing a lifelong passion for the outdoors. By involving your children in the process, you help them become skilled hunters who appreciate the effort and dedication required for success. Happy scouting, and here's to many future adventures with your young outdoor enthusiasts in the beautiful wilderness of Missouri!

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