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A while back I took my 4 year old son “squirrel hunting” on some family land. Not with the expectation of getting him behind the gun, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting him to be more interested than he was. Instead of looking for our quarry and trying to be quiet, he was content to sword fight imaginary bad guys with a good stick. The hunting may have to wait a year or two.


“Only accurate rifles are interesting.”
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Don't sweat it
Not every kid is mature enough at 4, or some not
even at 10
Better than trying to push him like some I've known.
I've known some adults 20's and older that needed
to mature some before trying to hunt

He'll pick it up if it's meant to be, then you won't
be able to get out enough to suit him

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My boy was the same way at that age. I'd just laugh but kept on taking him.

I always did my best to make it a fun experience for him so he always wanted to go to the woods.

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That’s what I’m trying to do. Just keep getting him out there and having fun.


“Only accurate rifles are interesting.”
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Mine loves to hunt but he still goofs off in the woods, he loves to collect fat lighter now. I have enough to last a lifetime. Gonna let him start splitting it up so he can sell it by the bag, make a little money, or xmas gifts for folks.

Youth turkey season for us in 8 days!

Last edited by killerv; 03/17/23.
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Don’t lower your expectations. Just change them. Don’t make it a squirrel hunt. Make it an outdoor adventure. Take snacks and drinks. Help him make a fire and cook hotdogs. If the weather is decent take a tent and sleeping bags. And more snacks and drinks. You’ll be making lifelong memories for each of you. Who knows, maybe a squirrel gets shot somewhere along the way. 😀

Edited to add: Looking back, now that the kids are grown, I’d gladly trade an elk hunt for one more of those pajama parties. It’s all about perspective.

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Originally Posted by Dude270
My boy was the same way at that age. I'd just laugh but kept on taking him.

I always did my best to make it a fun experience for him so he always wanted to go to the woods.


Thats the thing to do IMO. If he doesnt wan to or isnt enamored with hunting, then you still make the trip fun. There's 3000 ways to do that, but you still make it fun. Make him wanting to go. Play up the sword fighting... carve a better stick. Build a "hide".

Its like bringing little kids fishing... some like to fish, most like to play with (or catch) bait. So what... its supposed to be fun not work. Kids got his whole life to do have peopel telling him what to do.

You're training him and getting quality time. It ain't really about the hunt. I mean, how many hunts are really about the hunt?


Originally Posted by Archerhunter

Quit giving in inch by inch then looking back to lament the mile behind ya and wonder how to preserve those few feet left in front of ya. They'll never stop until they're stopped. That's a fact.
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Originally Posted by WMR
Don’t lower your expectations. Just change them. Don’t make it a squirrel hunt. Make it an outdoor adventure. Take snacks and drinks. Help him make a fire and cook hotdogs. If the weather is decent take a tent and sleeping bags. And more snacks and drinks. You’ll be making lifelong memories for each of you. Who knows, maybe a squirrel gets shot somewhere along the way. 😀

Edited to add: Looking back, now that the kids are grown, I’d gladly trade an elk hunt for one more of those pajama parties. It’s all about perspective.


This. I shoulda read the rest of the thread first. You nailed it 1000%.


Originally Posted by Archerhunter

Quit giving in inch by inch then looking back to lament the mile behind ya and wonder how to preserve those few feet left in front of ya. They'll never stop until they're stopped. That's a fact.
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It takes time, sometimes. I took my older son backpack hunting for years, and we had a great time without getting a deer.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Eventually, it works out.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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My 4 year old has been going with me for deer/turkey/hogs since he was two...

That said, he was exposed the RIGHT way. Every time we went somewhere, it was all about HIM. I always set him up for success in that it was an "adventure"... while deer hunting, we looked for birds, talked about clouds, looked at trees and leaves etc... We also had his OWN backpack with snacks and drinks... he was as excited about his pack as he was "hunting"

Now he loves to use "HIS" flashlight to find deer/hogs and to walk in turkey hunting behind me.

He loves fishing and hunting... but I have paid dues getting him to this point.
Once we left the deer stand after 5 minutes... I was disappointed, but WE made the best of it by looking for pirate treasure on the way back to the truck. You ALWAYS have to be willing to cut the adventure short and go do something more fun at the very first sign of boredom. Remember, it is all about HIM/HER at this age. If you do it correctly, you will have a partner for life.

Last edited by Sasha_and_Abby; 03/20/23.

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when my girls were younger I'd get out a day or two ahead of time and plant little treasures in the "magical tree motts" on our lease-they founds lots of necklaces hanging in trees and pendants and dragon eggs, and the occasional hobo knife complete with fork and spoon!! Never forgot when my youngest was 12ish and she asked me if she could have the lease when I was too old to stay on it wink



as long as he wins the sword fights let him do his thing! Heck, maybe next time there is a sword stuck in a tree left there for him to "slay the dragons"!

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I've had similar experiences. My boy LIVES to fish. He's autistic, and though he's 13, still will not touch a fish or bait. He gets crazy ideas about how to get the fish to bite, that have frustrated me to no end. What I had finally come to realize is that when I take him fishing, it is about him, and I shouldn't expect to do any real fishing. I've apologized on a few occasions for being "cranky ". I'm learning!

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At that age - the attention span is measured in seconds, not hours.
Just keep it fun.


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my son was nuts about guns since he got out of diapers now my grandson its a different story he is 11 now and kinda interested so i don`t push him and actually his sister my granddaughter is much more interested and she is only 9 yrs. old . go figure ?


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My son started out with a red rider BB gun at age 4. We started out hunting empty soda cans that I set on the wood pile. Once he learned how to use the open sites properly knocking down soda cans, then I put up some paper targets for him. We spent a year with the red riderBB gun, the next year I brought out my Browning BL22 for him. He was off to the races after that. He’s now shooting his own 222 rem.


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