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.

Recommended for You

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on. Bass

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

G&F Online Staff - May 20, 2019

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set. Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

See More Stories

More News

Randy Ulmer recently added another huge buck to a very long list of big deer. Bows

Mule Deer Bowhunter Eclipses 5,000 Inches

G&F Online Staff - October 28, 2019

Randy Ulmer recently added another huge buck to a very long list of big deer.

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

Reality-based hunting series debuted this summer. News

GPO Announces 'Huntsman' TV Show Sponsorship

September 16, 2019

Reality-based hunting series debuted this summer.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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