5 Tips to Fan the Flames for Hunting's Next Generation

5 Tips to Fan the Flames for Hunting's Next Generation
(Photo courtesy of "Hunt Masters")

In the old church youth group campfire song, if memory serves correct, the refrain goes something like this: "It only takes a spark to get a fire going."

True in matters of family and faith, it's also true in passing down one of the oldest traditions in all of humanity, the ethical and honorable pastime of hunting, an affair as old as mankind itself.

On a recent episode of Outdoor Channel's Hunt Masters television show, host Gregg Ritz does did just that – fan the flames of hunting desire in his daughter's life – as he led her to harvest her first ever white-tailed buck.

Part heart-warming, part fun, part adventure and part education, the hunt taught the younger Ritz a lesson in patience.


And later on, it reaffirmed the same truth to the older Ritz as Gregg put his own advice to good use in the chase of a buck he’s hunted for several years.


For those interested in passing along the flame of hunting to their children, grandchildren or even a child living in the local neighborhood, Ritz was more than willing to share his thoughts on the process of lighting the torch for hunting in a youngster's life.

With that in mind, here are five tips from Ritz for getting children interested in the great outdoors as a hunter:

  1. Start Small: "Do not allow kids to shoot too big a gun too quickly," said Ritz. "Make sure (that) the gun is sized appropriately for the child. If possible, start with an air rifle or a .22 caliber rifle."

  2. It’s Never Too Early: "There is no magic age to get your kids involved in shooting or in the outdoors," said Ritz. "The earlier the better. My three girls started enjoying archery at the age of five and firearms at the age of seven."

  3. Keep It Fun: "Set up targets that are interactive for the kids to shoot at," said Ritz. "You want targets that are fun (to shoot at) and (that) create an immediate response to allow the child to know (that) they have been successful.

    "One example would be inflating balloons to different sizes to shoot at with your bow and air rifle," he added. "Another example would be the use of spinning and popping targets with your air rifle or .22 caliber rifle, those are ideal (too)."

  4. Keep it Personal: "If you have more than one child, try to spend one-on-one time with (each one of) them," said Ritz. "You’ll find that this strengthens your bond with the child as well (and) allows you to be more effective with teaching (them) the basic skills of shooting and the outdoors."

  5. Go With Them: "Kids today are captive to their electronic devices, so do your best to unplug them and get them outdoors to explore," said Ritz.

"Fields, creeks, woods, parks – whatever you can to (use to) expose them to (the outdoors, it all helps)," he added. "Find a new adventure every month in every season to engage them in the outdoors and they will always learn and see something new.

"And (remember this) above all else … a dirty kid is a happy one."


It’s something that has undoubtedly been true all throughout the pages of time.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

See More Trending Articles

More News

New uses of Pittman-Robertson funds seek to restore hunter connections instead of wildlife populations. Conservation & Politics

Agencies Treating Hunters Like 'Customers'

Andrew McKean - June 11, 2020

New uses of Pittman-Robertson funds seek to restore hunter connections instead of wildlife...

(Updated) More closures nationwide possible as coronavirus pandemic continues. News

Alaska Re-Considers Bear Hunt Closure for Residents: COVID-19

Lynn Burkhead - April 02, 2020

(Updated) More closures nationwide possible as coronavirus pandemic continues.

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. News

NSSF: More Americans Are Hunting Through COVID-19

Larry Keane - June 30, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Aaron Lucky is new head of Easton Technical Products. News

Easton Names New President

March 24, 2020

Aaron Lucky is new head of Easton Technical Products.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now