Hunting brings families together, helps offset the costs of managing natural federal and state resources, and creates sustainable jobs. To keep that tradition going, there’s always the need to train the next generation of hunters. We’ve put together some tips to help you get started, including past articles on the tradition of hunting, sustainability of hunting, and family togetherness.
Start with Hunter Education
If you plan to take your teenager or another new hunter out this year or next, both Oregon and Washington require that those under 17 years of age pass a hunter safety course. There are online hunter education courses in Oregon and Washington. Find a location near you, call ahead or register online with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Get Your Permits Early
Specific hunting permits can be found online for both Oregon and Washington. Get yours early as there is a limited number handed out every year.
Lead by Example
This can include taking your new hunter out to a shooting range to show them proper gun safety and shooting techniques. While out hunting, be attentive to every move you make so that you can instill proper hunting etiquette and safety. If your new hunter isn’t quite ready for a real hunt, take them with you, but just as an observer. Show them how to track the animals you are hunting, where to aim for the most humane kill, and what to do if you accidentally injure the animal.
Always Talk about Safety
Tell your young or new hunter why you are holding your gun a certain way, or why you are taking extra precautions when crossing a stream or fence line. These lessons will have a lasting effect on their future hunts and participation in the sport. Also, allow them to ask questions and provide the best answers you can.
Focus on the Fun
Hunting is supposed to be about the experience in addition to filling your family freezer. If your new hunter isn’t having fun, ask them how it could be better. Sometimes, something as simple as cold hands or wet socks can ruin a first-time hunt.
Don’t be too Picky
Getting a trophy is great, but your newbie just needs to experience the hunt and their essential first animal. If the game is legal (even if it’s small), allow them to take the shot.
Supply Plenty of Praise
Whatever the outcome, find reasons to give the new hunter plenty of kudos. Tell them what they did right during the hunt before sharing what they could do better next time. If they do come home with their first animal, take a few photos in the field as a memento.
Know the 5 Rules of Gun Safety
The right to own a firearm is a big part of the United States Constitution. But simply reciting the Second Amendment isn’t enough to ensure your safety or the safety of those around you. Especially when you’re sharing your love of hunting with a new hunter. We’ve put together these 5 rules to promote gun safety.
Rule #1 – All guns are always loaded – Always. This simply means you must always treat every gun as if it’s loaded. Always assume that every gun you come into contact with is loaded until you have physically verified it for yourself. Don’t ever rely on anyone’s word for it. When you hold a gun in your hand, you are responsible for it and anything that occurs while in your possession. If you don’t know how a gun works, leave it alone and find a knowledgeable person to show you.
Rule #2 – Never point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to shoot – Ever. You must always be aware of where your gun is pointed at all times. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. This is the rule that saves lives. You MUST exercise due caution and diligence when handling a firearm.
Rule #3 – Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. Always keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target, and you have made the conscious decision to shoot. If you have your finger on the trigger and you are startled in some way, your brain will react with a primitive response that will tighten every muscle in the body, including the trigger finger.
Rule #4 – Be sure of your target and what’s beyond and around it. The hand that holds the gun is responsible for whatever is done by that gun. If you fire a gun, you are responsible – no matter where it lands or what it hits. You must know where your shot will go when you fire it. You must know what it might hit if you miss your intended target. And you must know what it can go through and still have enough energy/power to kill or hurt.
Rule #5 – Always lock up your guns. Whether you use a trigger lock, handgun safe or a cabinet safe, always keep your firearms locked. As a responsible gun owner, you know that your gun is always loaded (refer to Rule #1), but not everyone is aware of these rules. Children are naturally curious and there’s always a chance someone could find your firearms. Keep them locked and away – it’s smart, and it’s easy.
Start Your Next Hunt at Coastal
Your Northwest owned and operated Coastal carries everything you need for a safe hunting experience. You’ll also find camping equipment, pistols, rifles, targets, gun cleaning kits, accessories, ammunition, and experts who understand every aspect of gun safety and hunting.