I have a son who wants to learn about hunting...

weimedog

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#1
I'm not the hunting and gun type. I have a young son who wants to be. I put him through the hunter saftey etc. I've got a fair amount of background in my past relative to both fire arms and hunting....but not now. It is hard to consider that type of sport in this current household...but I would if it can get this child outside and off the computer games.

The type of hunting available in his back yard includes turkey, deer, pheasant, coyote, and ground hogs. The type of activites available to him include trap shooting and a variety of hunting related target events.

How do I start him? With a .22? A youth sized shot gun? What? In NYS most deer hunting is done with muzzle loader or shot gun (slugs). Small game with .22mag, birds with shot gun.

What about one of those Rossi combination single shots with interchangable barrels. 12ga and .22mag? Maybe a Rem 870 youth sized? (Problem with .22 and shotguns is the ground hogs stay too far away!)

Any hunting / shooting sport families out there with a suggestion on what to start a 13 yr old with?
 

oldguy

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#2
I started thekid out with a .410ga pump. It was great for squirrels and rabbits and easy on close pheasant shots. Half the fun was getting in close enough for a good shot. He also had a .22cal semiauto for plinking but never hunted with it. As soon as he was strong enough we moved to a 870 20ga youth model which still acts as his backup for deer (standard for him now is a 30-06 bolts). For birds now he uses a 12ga semi auto.
If you have the facilties look for a sporting clays course. Great practice and a fun time for both of you- think golfing with a shotgun.
Luckily thekid has had the opportunity to shoot most any type weapon available from muzzleloaders to full on autos and he has always enjoyed shooting. Often on a slow day myself and 2 neighbors pull out the guns and head to a nearby range for the day and it is not unusual to go thru up tp a 1000 pistol rounds, several hundred shotgun, and rifle rounds of different calibers. Nothing like taking out your frustrations blasting targets to bits with a couple good friends.
 

SirThumper

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#3
I have a couple of boys that are starting out. For birds I bought them a Rem. 870 youth 20 guage. They fit them well and they enjoy shooting them.

Trap shooting is a lot of fun and will keep him in tune when he is not hunting and will make him a better shot as well.

For my boys, I would stay away from the Rossi combo, It may seem complicated to them, I would rather keep things simple while they are starting out.

Check out your local sporting goods and talk to the dealer, find out what other fathers are buying for their kids and what works well for the area you are in.

Drill the importance of safety in the sport untill he is sick of it, let him know that he cannot afford to make a single mistake while out hunting. He's heard it all in Hunters safety but man, what my dad taught me never faded.
 
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#4
wel i hunt in jersey and i started hunting at the age of 11 and i have never shot anything but a 12 gauge shot gun except for at my test which i shot a 20 gauge.....Now im up to a 12 gauge slug gun(1 hell of a kick). BY the way im 16 now.HUnting is a great sport as long as you abide by your stae rules.So have some fun shoting some animals
 

oldguy

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#5
Originally posted by SirThumper
[B/]

Drill the importance of safety in the sport untill he is sick of it, let him know that he cannot afford to make a single mistake while out hunting. He's heard it all in Hunters safety but man, what my dad taught me never faded. [/B]
Last weekend at deercamp this was driven home to the thekid. The guy who hosts camp had bought several handguns at an estate sale and not knowing anything about handguns had put them away until we got there to check them over for him. He was passing them around and everyone was looking them over. I was pretty happy as thekid opened the chamber on each as it was passed to him and as he passed it on. The 4th gun to come his way just happened to eject a live 22 cal birdshot round as he pulled the slide. :scream: The owners jaw just flopped open (as did the other 3 guys there) and immediately all the guns were inspected (no others were loaded). Luckily all the guns had trigger locks which is no excuse for handling a gun of which the status in unknown.
I have always drilled thekid that every gun is loaded until you confirm visually in the chamber otherwise. I always also make it a point to remind clerks at gunshops that I want the gun safe before they hand it to me and it will be returned to them in that state -it is surprising how few counter people will check the gun prior to handing it over.
DRILL SAFETY EVEN AFTER IT IS SICKENING BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN NOT RECALL THAT ROUND ONCE THE HAMMER DROPS
 

dirty~d~

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#6
Originally posted by oldguy
I started thekid out with a .410ga pump. It was great for squirrels...
Really? :eek: Very interesting.


To copycat what's already been said:

When it comes to handling rifles and handguns, SAFETY can not be stressed enough. Before allowing him out 'on the loose' with a loaded weapon make sure he understands and can display a knowledge of weapon safety. It needs to become second nature. And yes, he will get sick of hearing that.
 
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#7
For a 13 year old, I would get him a 12 gauge. I am 14 and own 2 .22 calibers and a Browning over under 12 gauge. I love it and am very comfortable with it.
 
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#9
I am 15, and i have a 20ga, a 410, and a pump .22. I have gotten a turkey before with my 410. My grandfather will not hunt turkey with anything but a 410. But you cant just sit in a tree stand if you expect to get anything with it. I like the 20gauge but it kicks alot for a gun this size. I'm not sure what brand, but it is an older gun and doesnt have too much of a buttpad. Have him try out different gun sizes and see what he likes best. My uncle gave me his 10gauge to try out and i had a big bruise on my shoulder for a good week or so.
 

XRpredator

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#10
Everyone else has said it, but I guess I will too: Drill 'em on the safety aspects.

Why don't you take up hunting with the boy, 'dog? My kids have both been with me, the boy since he was 5 (he's 8 now) and my daughter for the first time this year (she's 5). Of course, my success rate has dropped dramatically, but that's not the point ;). Neither of them have packed a gun yet, but the boy has fired a .22 a few times, as well as a BB gun. The two of them, living their lives around guns, I don't worry about them getting into them. I do, however, worry about friends, so that's why things stay locked up.

As far as what to start with, I would say get a 12 ga. because you can easily go back and forth between slugs and shot just by changing the choke tube. Around here, we don't have near the limits on what we can hunt with (thank god for wide open spaces :)), and I started my hunting life with an 8mm Mauser, then a .30/06. My suggestion: Shoot as many guns as you can to get a feel for them.

And have fun.
 

bsmith

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#11
I like the idea of the 22 and 410 to learn with or I even like the 20 Gauge over the 12, for 12 might scare him a bit in the beginning.

Beyond learning the safety aspects previously mentioned, he needs to learn how to shoot. If you start him with a big gun he might start flinching before he even pulls the trigger, knowing it’s going to kick. A 22 is good enough up to 50 yds for most any Varmint, if it's placed right. The 22 won't give him a kick worth flinching at, so he can learn to gently squeeze the trigger and not pull it or anticipate the kick. I feel size doesn’t matter in hunting, but accuracy does!!

Then once he is comfortable with his ability, than move him up to bigger guns! Make him earn the 12 gauge or Deer Rifle!
 

Treejumper

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#12
I'd go with the .22 to start with. Easy to shoot, cheap, great for target shooting and can be used for squirrel, rabbits, ground hogs, etc. The 12ga might be alittle much for starting out on. Ask around to see if anyone would be willing to take you and your boy out to a range so he could try different guns. That is how i found out what type of rifle i liked, i shot about 20 different calibers and models. I would start him out on none flying small game til he gets use to the gun. Make sure he can shoot skeet before allowing him to shoot flying birds. IMO, shooting flying birds is more dangerous for new shooters. The bird jumping usually startles you, then you have to act fast lining up a shot, making sure nothing is in the firing path and pulling the trigger. Being able to shoot skeet first makes this easier.
 

BadgerMan

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#13
A hunter's safety course is a must.

I bought my son a full size 870 (he's a big kid) in 20 gage for his 13th birthday. You can't go wrong with a 20 gage, much cheaper to shoot than a 410 and less recoil (than a 12) for a beginner to contend with.

Join a club and shoot lots of trap and skeet. It's a ball for the kids. Go at an off time so you don't feel pressured by the serious shooters. It's a great way to instill good safe gun handling.

.22's are great for plinking but not much else. You can hunt squirrels with a .22 but why would you want to hunt squirrels anyway? :confused:

Although, my 10-22 is a great tool for keeping the back yard safe from invading chipmunks. :laugh:

Good rifle calibers for new shooters are the 30-30, .243, and 7.62x39.

Above all else, go shooting/hunting with him. Companionship with dad (and/or mom) is what he will appreciate and remember most.
 

Jaybird

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#14
Starting out, a dad would be way ahead of the game by getting his boy a good Daisey BB gun and teaching with it.
Once you feel confident that he handles it with every bit of respect a weapon should be given, then a nice .22 and a .410ga or a 20ga. are great guns to have. Youth models make a kid mucho confortable as well, however don't spend lots of money on them.
IMO..high powered rifles should only be used by adults. And yes, I agree that he should be able to handle ANY weapon after his lessons, but the high powered rifle is a horse of a different color. It is hard for an adult, let alone a kid, to actually realise the brute force and trajectory of a high powered rifle.

If the boy hunts squirrels alot, he will eventually find out that the taste and consistency of buckshot is not really all that great. He may find that a good clean shot with a .22 gives the game a better flavor and requires a bit more skill than blasting in the vicinity of the animal with a scatter gun.

ON GROUNDHOGS....
IMO ony a high powered rifle should be used on a groundhog. A .22 can reach it, but most often it will not take the groundhog down from any range unless it's a clean headshot. Groundhogs are so very sensitive to movement and can see for a long ways off, so it's very hard to get a good headshot with a .22
I suggest trapping groundhogs....but only if the animal is harming crops.
A groundhog that isn't near any crops will be surviving on natural plants etc...and harms nobody or anything. And there should be no reason to shoot a groundhog unless it is damaging crops. Try to eat one and you will see that they have no value as game.
I used to trap groundhogs for neighboring farmers. I got 5 bucks a head. My pal and I had over 50 traps set at any given time. You will find out about a whole new world when you get into trapping. I would be glad to give your boy any advise he wants on trapping groundhogs, but I would steer him clear of shooting them for sport.

Thant brings me to my final advise....teach your boy that anything he shoots, HE EATS! Hunting isn't just killing game. It also involves the cleaning and preparing the game for a meal. To kill an animal just for the sake of killing it is quite wrong, in my opinion.

Many valuable lessons to be learned for both kid and dad alike. Have fun and be safe!
 

Neil Wig

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#15
Hey, Jaybird, ever eat a gopher?

Up here, they are a pest in dire need of lead.

For a new shooter, I would stick with a bolt action 22. Good gun to learn on, doesn't spray lead like a shotgun or semi-auto 22, and it teaches them how to stalk, ambush, or otherwise shorten the shot distance.