Why you should teach your child to hunt

Why you should teach your child to hunt

In an increasingly urbanized and digital world, it is crucial to ensure that our children maintain a strong connection with nature and understand the significance of wildlife conservation. While the practice of hunting may evoke mixed emotions among more urban parents and those who never grew up hunting, it is important to recognize the benefits it offers in terms of teaching empathy, patience, and fostering a sense of responsibility. Additionally, hunting plays a pivotal role in funding wildlife conservation efforts, which are essential for preserving our natural heritage.


Encouraging a Connection with Nature:

Research has consistently shown that children growing up in rural areas, where hunting is often practiced, have more opportunities to engage with the natural world. By participating in hunting activities, children can experience firsthand the beauty of nature, its delicate balance, and the interdependence of living organisms. This connection fosters a deep appreciation for wildlife and the environment, encouraging children to become responsible stewards of nature.

A child’s interest in the outdoors begins to wane in their teenage years. Since teenagers tend to lose their spark of childlike wonder and have less energy than younger kids, this leads to them mostly trying to live in comfort indoors instead of exploring the world around them. Hunting, on the other hand, has an air of excitement to it that teenagers – especially boys – can find joy in. While not everyone has the patience or attention span to appreciate walking through a peaceful green pasture, most people can understand the thrill of taking a single, critical shot to bring down an animal larger and faster than you. There’s also a kind of primal connection when one realizes that we are doing the exact same thing that our ancestors did to survive.


Hunting provides a unique opportunity for children to learn empathy and patience. When children hunt alongside their parents or mentors, they can develop a profound understanding of the role they can play in the “circle of life,” recognizing man’s importance of balance in ecosystems. Deer, for example, need to be culled because overgrazing can have a detrimental effect on the forest. Large populations of deer also boost the spread of lyme disease with the ticks they carry. Deer in areas with low population densities also tend to be healthier because of less competition for resources. It’s important for young hunters to know that what they’re doing isn’t simply “killing for killing’s sake.”

The process of tracking, observing, and ultimately harvesting an animal teaches children to appreciate the value of life and the responsibility that comes with taking it. Kids can learn both empathy and patience in the process of taking that single critical shot to a deer’s vitals, bringing the animal down and minimizing its suffering with correct shot placement. These values extend beyond the hunting experience, positively impacting their interactions with both humans and animals.

Quality Time and Family Bonding:

In today's fast-paced world, where distractions abound, hunting allows families to reconnect and spend quality time together away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are few opportunities for a parent and child to spend time alone with each other without one or the other being distracted by a mobile device or work projects with fast-approaching deadlines. Engaging in outdoor activities like hunting provides an opportunity for parents and children to strengthen their bond, fostering open communication and shared experiences. Hunting trips provide an escape from digital devices and social media, encouraging children to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of the natural world.

Transformative Effects on Personal Growth:

Since the 1970s, wilderness therapy programs have successfully utilized nature-based activities, including hunting, to aid in the personal development of troubled youths. By engaging with nature and participating in hunting, these programs have helped build self-esteem, self-confidence, and a sense of purpose in participants. Taking the life of an animal for sustenance has been a pivotal moment for many youths, instilling in them a profound respect for life and the natural world.

There are some behavioral therapists who believe that a lack of exposure to nature, sometimes called “nature deficit disorder” has had a profound effect on the mental health of young people. By exposing them to nature and getting them to simply “touch grass,” some teens find a sense of peace in the wilderness.

Conservation Funding and Environmental Stewardship:

Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of hunting is its contribution to wildlife conservation. The taxes on ammunition and the revenue generated from hunting licenses constitute a significant portion of the budget for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, contributing about 80% of their total revenue. This funding plays a crucial role in supporting conservation efforts, habitat preservation, and wildlife management. Without the financial support provided by hunters, many conservation initiatives would be severely hindered or impossible to undertake.


The decline in the number of hunters in recent decades has raised concerns about the future of wildlife conservation efforts. Factors such as urbanization, decreased exposure to hunting, and shifting societal attitudes have contributed to this decline. By teaching our children to hunt, we can help preserve traditional values and ensure the continuation of the American model of conservation. Educating the next generation about hunting's role in funding conservation programs is essential to maintaining the delicate balance between humans and wildlife.

Teaching children to hunt can have numerous positive effects on their personal development, fostering a deep connection with nature, empathy, patience, and a sense of responsibility. Furthermore, hunting plays a crucial role in funding wildlife conservation efforts, ensuring the preservation of our natural heritage for future generations. By embracing the practice of hunting, we can nurture a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who appreciate the value of wildlife, traditional values, and the importance of maintaining a harmonious relationship with the natural world.

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