Choosing the Best Hunting Blinds for Kids
Chances are pretty good that you learned how to hunt from a family member as a kid. You likely have fond memories of getting your first deer or turkey with a parent at your side. On the other hand, you probably also have some memories where things didn’t go as planned. Let’s face it, hunting with kids is not always an easy or fun thing to do. But you’ll both find that the challenges fade away with time while the good memories stand out. Here are some tips on finding hunting blinds for kids, and why they can improve your time afield with young ones.
Youth Hunting Challenges
As mentioned, most kids aren’t usually natural-born hunters. They are loud, curious/talkative, fidgety/impatient, and have short attention spans. It requires a lot of teaching, hunting wisdom, and time afield to really practice the skills involved before they will get better at it. We need to constantly keep that in mind when we take kids hunting. If you lose your patience while youth hunting or it becomes more of a chore for them than a fun time with a parent/guardian, a kid can quickly lose interest. Given the time required for frequent bathroom breaks and their short attention spans, hunting with a kid is likely going to be much shorter than if you were solo hunting. As long as you go into it with the right expectations on your end, it can still be a great outcome and a fun time. Not to mention, it’s critical we get more kids out hunting with the decline of hunting participation rates.
Benefits of Hunting Blinds for Kids
Given those specific hunting challenges, there are many benefits to using hunting blinds for kids. For example, compared to tree stands, hunting blinds are much safer to use. When you don’t have to leave the ground or are fully contained within an elevated blind, it removes a lot of the risk involved in hunting with a child. They are also usually much more spacious, accommodating two or more people, hunting gear, and comfortable chairs (such as the Muddy® swivel ground seat) as well. Nobody likes to be cramped, but especially kids. Third, blinds can hide your movement, sound, and scent (to some extent), which are all positive things when taking kids out. Many children just can’t hold still for very long, and their fidgeting is obviously not a good match with deer or turkey hunting. Blinds conceal that movement and will also help to muffle the sound of their many questions (and your patient answers). Depending on what kind of hunting blind you are using, it can also contain your scent and stay warmer so you can hunt longer without spooking deer.
Different Hunting Blind Options
Choosing a hunting blind can be intimidating sometimes given the range of options out there, but if you really want to focus on hunting blinds for kids, you can use these challenges and specific benefits above to make the selection process simpler. Here are three primary types of deer hunting blinds to consider, and how each of them works for youth hunting.
A box blind, such as the Muddy Bull, can be placed on the ground or elevated on a tower/platform for increased visibility. Insulated box blinds protect you well from the wind and weather, allowing you and your child to stay warmer. If you hunt firearms seasons in northern states, cold and miserable weather is basically a guarantee, so it’s a great way to let your kid experience it while not being miserable themselves. They also usually have sealed windows to keep scent contained and muffle your sounds. With a silent swivel chair, kids can have a great and comfortable time hunting. That being said, box blinds are not very mobile and so it is best to position one of these in a spot you know will offer great hunting action once the weather cools down and you plan on needing hunting blinds for kids.
Most ground blinds are normally lightweight, pop-up designs that allow you to be mobile pending the deer action. Since kids can be impatient, this is a nice feature. If you can keep the blinds where they can see a fair amount of deer traffic, they will stay interested – even if it’s just does and fawns walking by, it’s a great way to teach them how to calm their nerves. If you want, some ground blinds can also be elevated onto a platform as well, but most are simply used at ground level. As far as ground blind tips, it always helps to brush your blind in and leave it out for a few days before you hunt it. This will help maximize your chances of connecting with an animal while your kid is with you. Considering what to wear in a ground blind, make sure you and your child match the inside of the blind, which is usually black or dark. That way, any movement a deer might see inside is hidden even further. Of course, the Muddy 5 Sider conceals your movement extremely well by using dropdown windows with camo patterns and shoot-through mesh.
A bale blind is a variation of a ground blind, specifically focusing on the shape, color, and texture of a common agricultural field feature: a round hay bale. In farm fields and meadows, deer are used to seeing bales scattered across fields, so they don’t even question it – particularly when there are other actual hay bales in the field. When considering hunting blinds for kids in farm country, especially after hay fields have been harvested, the Muddy Bale Blind is a great option. It conceals your movement and allows you to get close to the deer action. When sitting adjacent to a line of other bales, bale blinds can also allow you to sneak in and out of the blind when deer are out in the field.
As far as the best hunting blinds for kids, it all depends on your hunting preferences and your kid’s personality. If you know that your kid is particularly impatient or the weather forecast looks bad, an insulated and comfortable box blind is probably your best bet. But if you want to move closer to the action, the weather is nice, and your kid seems able to stay calm, a ground blind or bale blind can be perfect too. What’s most important, though, is that you take your kid – even if it’s only for an hour after school. If you keep it fun for them, it will make a lasting memory for both of you.