Getting a kid interested in hunting is one thing, but keeping him or her interested in between seasons is often more difficult. Some kids are easy to occupy and easy to keep engaged, but sometimes they need a little help. Here are a few ideas to keep your new hunter interested even when he or she can’t go hunting.

The idea closest to my heart is taxidermy. I haven’t met many hunters who don’t like to show their mounts off. Let your new hunter display his first trophies by mounting them himself. Beginner kits are cheap and easy to get and use. Kits can range from fish and birds, all the way up to deer heads. You can find a multitude of kits at sporting goods stores like Cabela’s or order online from a taxidermy supply company like   

When I was a teenager, I was always fascinated by taxidermy. I couldn’t afford to have any of my animals mounted, so I bought my first kit from an ad in Outdoor Life and mounted a striper.  It looked like a brick when I was done, but it interested me and made me want to get better. I used other kits and I did improve. Having things like this to do in my off-season time, kept me interested and excited for the new seasons to begin.

Another idea is to have a kid plan a future hunt. This is a big endeavor, and most kids don’t understand all that goes into even the simplest road hunt. Have them decide what to hunt, where to go, what requirements there are (licenses, tags, private or public property, time to get there, time to hunt, where on the property to go, etc.). Next what kind of preparation needs to be made in the form of clothing, weaponry, food, calls and so on. Of course the best part is to use the plan for a hunt and decide what worked and what didn’t. 

The final idea is to have your new hunter practice even if he doesn’t know it. Shooting requires hand eye coordination, sighting, and judgment. There are many ways to practice these, from going to the shooting range, to honing your skills on a video game. My wife and I had a chuckle the other night as we were leaving the movie theater, when we saw an older man probably in his late sixties playing a shooting arcade game. You are never too old to practice or just have fun. Other ideas are to pay for a professional shooting lesson, or go paintball or laser tag shooting. The goal should be practicing while having fun.