7 Reasons to Take a Kid Predator Hunting

Do You Take Your Kid Predator Hunting?

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First Two ReasonsInteractive ActionThree More Reasons

1 | First Two Reasons

No. 1: Predator season lengths are liberal.

While most game animals have a relatively short season length, that isn’t the case with predators. Today’s kids are busier than ever. It can be hard to fit time to hunt into school and all those extracurricular activities that seem to dominate their time. With long, or even non-existent, season lengths, it is easier to fit a predator hunt into a busy schedule.

Since predator populations are expanding into more and more locations, a quick afternoon hunt doesn’t require a long drive or lots of advanced planning.

No. 2: Predator hunting doesn’t take a lot of gun.

The most popular predator rounds fall into the small centerfire or even large rimfire category. Rifles chambered in .17 HMR, .222, .223, .22-250 and .243 dominate the sport. These calibers are perfect for introducing young shooters to hunting. Recoil is nearly non-existent, allowing the shooter to concentrate on shot placement and trigger control without the fear of recoil pain that can come from a larger caliber.

It just so happens that many of these calibers are available in the modern sporting rifle platform. AR-15 style MSRs are lightweight, compact, and most feature adjustable stocks that can be shortened for a perfect fit on a small-framed shooter. Even the more traditional platforms in these calibers, like bolt-actions and single-shots, can be found in light and compact packages that fit young shooters well.

More Options: Predator Hunting Guns

(© Bill Konway photo)

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2 | Interactive Action

And . . .

No. 3: Predator hunting is interactive.

Anyone who has ever hunted with a kid knows that two of their favorite activities are moving around and making noise. Predator hunting can turn both of those into positive traits. Calling, either with a mouth call or an electronic device, allows the young hunter to become actively involved in the hunt. Even a simple mouse squeaker can keep a kid involved. Many predator hunters employ an electronic decoy that wiggles or twists at the push of a button. Let your young hunter handle the remote.

Since predator hunting often revolves around setting up, calling for a period, then moving on if nothing shows, kids don’t have to sit still for long periods of time. This fast-paced style of hunting fits well with today’s young hunters who are used to constantly being on the go.

No. 4: It's often easier to gain permission to predator hunt.

While permission to hunt private land for more popular game animals like deer and turkey is getting harder to get by the day, landowners are often happy to have coyotes and other predators removed from their farms. Take your young hunter with you when you meet with prospective landowners. A respectful youngster goes a long way when securing new hunting ground.

Hunter/landowner relationships that start with predator hunting often evolve into long-term partnerships that lead to permission to hunt other game as well.

(© Bill Konway photo)

Please click through to see more reasons to take your kid predator hunting . . .

3 | Three More Reasons

No. 5: Predators are the ultimate teacher of woodsmanship.

With eyes as sharp as a wild turkey and a nose that rivals any deer or elk, predators like coyotes are the ultimate hunting teacher. To be an effective predator hunter, you first must learn to blend in with your surroundings. Whether you are hunting in the deep timber, arid western desert, or even wetland swamps, there is a Realtree pattern to help you do just that.

To be a successful predator hunter, you must play the wind. Learning scent control, wind direction, and how to read thermals will help young hunters with any game animal they hunt in the future. Watching a coyote nearly turn itself inside out when it catches the slightest human scent is a lesson that sticks with any hunter. Luckily, with high predator numbers in most locales, those lessons are quickly filed away when the next opportunity presents itself.

No. 6: Predator population control helps other wildlife.

With predator numbers skyrocketing, game and non-game wildlife species alike are taking a hit in many areas of the country. Explain to your young hunter how predator population control helps with fawn and poult retention rates in deer and turkeys, results in higher small and upland game numbers, and even helps non-game species like songbirds.

A study in Northern Alabama by Dr. Karl Miller of the University of Georgia and Cory Van-Gilder, graduate of the University of Georgia, along with Dr. Grant Woods, sought to determine predator impact on whitetail fawn survival. The study was performed on 2,000 acres where 22 coyotes and 10 bobcats were removed during fawning season. The predator control resulted in a doubled fawn population. Later, Miller went on to conduct a second study in Southwest Georgia on two sections of land. On one section of 11,000 acres, 23 coyotes and three bobcats were trapped, and on another 7,000 acres no trapping was done. In the trapped area two out of every three does had fawns opposed to the un-trapped area where only one out of 28 does had fawns.

Besides wildlife, predators often have a detrimental impact on cattle, sheep and goat producers. Livestock loss is one of the chief reasons many farmers are more than happy to allow predator hunting on their land.

Check Out: How Coyotes Killed Deer Hunting

No. 7: Predator hides can be sold for spending money.

While fur prices will likely never match the value they saw in the early to mid-1980s, there is still strong overseas demand for North American fur. Hides from western and northern coyotes and bobcats, in particular, will bring in top dollar. Teaching your young hunters to skin and handle fur will result in a bit of extra spending money, as well as a better understanding of skinning and butchering game.

(© Bill Konway photo)

Editor's note: This Realtree.com post was first published Dec. 12, 2017.