Some of the greatest family pastimes can be centered in nature, but with dangerous activities comes responsibility. Families well-versed in the world of hunting, fishing and the great outdoors may be confident in safety concerns, but all families with young children or teenagers should be cautious.
No matter what state you are in, make sure your children are old enough for a hunting licenses, as it varies by state.
For instance, in Pennsylvania, kids need to be at least 12 years old. Children older than 7 can hunt deer and turkey if accompanied by hunters 18 years old and older. No matter how old first-time Pennsylvania hunters are, they will need to complete a hunter-trapper safety course. The course runs through firearm safety, appropriate behavior on hunts and ways for beginners to make the most of activities while staying safe.
In Pennsylvania, the course is available online. Other states require similar educations, but the good news is all courses transfer between states, so family hunting vacations out of state don’t require multiple courses and training periods.
If you are going hunting, make sure to follow your state’s guidelines. Wear enough orange for the season and follow all posted signage.
Fishing, admittedly, is much less inherently risky than hunting. There are no firearms, but there are still plenty of hazards to watch out for to make sure even young kids can have a good time.
If fishing from the shore, make sure kids know how far they can go. Lots of kids get bored quickly and if this sounds like your kids, they will start to venture away and explore.
If you are taking them on a boat, be it on a lake, bay or the ocean, make sure they know how to swim. Always make sure they wear a life vest on the water in case anything goes haywire.
Keep an eye on kids who want to untangle their own strings. It is easy for the tiny strings to cut off circulation and stubborn kids might not tell you they need help right away. Also, make sure to help bait the lines. Whether using worms, minnows, other live bait or lures, it is easy to draw blood on a fishhook if you aren’t paying attention.
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