View Full Version : his first hunt

December 7, 2002, 08:32 PM
I’ve done a couple searches and could not exactly find a thread on this.

I have a stepson who is constantly bugging me about taking him deer hunting. I told him when he is old enough to hunt legally and passed the hunter safety course I would...well, the time has come. He is average sized for his class I guess: 5’5” and around 110lbs but by next fall who knows? Around here they hunt in the hills where a 200-yd shot would be a rarity but probably half that distance instead.

The plan is to start him out this spring with my old .22 until I’m happy he knows what he’s doing. Next is to let him shoot my AK to get used to a little recoil and maybe a 20ga if he’s up to it. I’ve shot several whitetail with the AK but I want him to use a practical rifle. I’m thinking open sites first.

Question 1: Should I have him go with me sans rifle one year so he’ll have an idea what its all about or just jump right in?

Question 2: What style rifle/caliber do think would be best? I had to use my dad’s 7mm because that was all we had and looking back I think that was way too much gun for me at the time.

Question 3: How soon is too soon for him to get his hands dirty and clean his own deer?

If my game plan is flawed please let me know.


Dan Morris
December 7, 2002, 08:55 PM
My son started with a 22......got him a 30-30 when he was 12.....
couldn't legally hunt big game till 14........drug him along on antelope/deer/elk trips sense he was 8......after mega hours of range time, he could shoot moa groups with the 30-06 I gave him.
When 15, got his first mulie.....knelt down at about 275 yds in a good sling and dropped it one shot!Can skin and clean with the best of em.
He's now 18, the time expenses and effort were the best thing I ever did.I have a eagar partner that is there every time we go. Funny, when he could legally hunt, he was treated like a partner.........equal.As to rifle, if you handload, you can down load a .308/.270 or a 06 and gradually work up to full loads.With a recoil pad or the above guns, I think you might be supprized as to his ability to shoot em.
You will never forget his first kill...neither will he!My best wishes to your future partnership.Sounds like a kid that wants to be a part of you and your life!


Art Eatman
December 7, 2002, 09:05 PM
I was sixteen and a skinny 125 or so when I was given my first '06: A 1917 Enfield; heavy, yeah, but, oh, that steel butt plate!

Hey, get him a Savage in .243 and spend the $25-ish for some gunsmithing on the trigger. Relatively inexpensive, and readily doubles for varmints. It's easy to shoot, for anybody. Zilch recoil, but good to 200 yards on most any deer. With more expertise, it's not hard to reach out farther.

If he's going to be stand-hunting, I wouldn't worry about a no-gun camp probationary period. I suggest quite a bit of advice from others than yourself about safety and knowing what a deer can look like.

Grandfathers and uncles are supposed to do such teaching, not fathers. Same like driving a car. :) Same as husbands not teaching wives about shooting and suchlike...Easier on the "student". :)


December 7, 2002, 09:11 PM
Sounds like you have a great game plan. If he hasn't passed his hunters ed. yet, I'd take him out and let him watch and learn. First chance he could legally hunt, I'd give him the rifle and go with him to observe.

I think you're on the money starting out with a .22, he'll be able to learn marksmanship with cheap ammo, and no recoil. He'll also learn how to safely handle a weapon with your supervision.

I'f money weren't an object, I'd probably buy him a new rifle. A 7MM Mag can be a stout kick for a 14 yr old, and shooting should be fun. I hunt with a 7MM Mag or a 12 gauge, so I can't tell you what calibers would be good for him. Some others on the board should have some experience using a smaller caliber on deer. Let us know how it works out. He's got to be excited.

Dan Morris
December 7, 2002, 09:12 PM
Dang,Art. I forgot about those steel butt plates.....ouch.........
on hunts...before he could shoot em, I always took Marc aside
and did some plinkun with him.He had the normal Safety courses and ....I've neve seen him do anything unsafe........When he was legal, I had no qualms about his safety factors!

December 7, 2002, 09:51 PM
1. let him carry a gun his first hunt, assuming he is safe. it will be more exciting for him knowing that he can shoot if an opportunity presents itself.

2. for rifle, i'd go w/ a 7-08 in a bolt action, or a 30-30 in a lever, whichever is better suited to your hunting area. 2nd choices would be 25-06 (bolt) or 308 (pump or auto).

3. i'd let him watch you clean the first deer. have him assist on the 2nd, you assist him on the 3rd, and he's solo on #4. be sure to help him identify the internal organs, and explain what you are removing, etc. standing rule for guys hunting w/ me is i'll gladly help clean an animal as long as it is not gut-shot. on your own if you shoot through the guts. while you are cleaning a deer is the perfect time to explain why gut shots are so undesireable...

best of luck to you.

December 7, 2002, 11:17 PM
I second the recommendation for the .30-30 lever action as a "first rifle". From your description of probable ranges, this has all the "oomph" you'll need, and plenty adequate accuracy at those ranges. I personally prefer the Marlins, due to the greater ease of mounting a scope and their less-complicated innards, but the Winchester '94 is a great gun in its own right. Also, you can cut down the stock on a .30-30 to fit a smaller-statured shooter with no crying about spoiled "fancy-grade" wood, and then simply buy another full-length stock from the factory when he grows a bit bigger. Finally, he's a teenager... there's always that "Old West mystique" among kids about shooting a lever-action! (Don't tell anyone, but some adults have it, too... :D )

Brian Williams
December 7, 2002, 11:31 PM
I am kinda partial to the NEF Super lite Handi rifle in 243. with a 1.5 x 5 scope on it it would be accurate to close to 300 yds.

I have 2 in my house mine and my sons. both are 1.25 to 1 MOA guns.

December 9, 2002, 12:29 PM
whatever rifle, I'd put a scope on it. Possibly a 3-9x variable power. This will assist him in getting a good humane shot which will cleanly kill the game.

December 10, 2002, 02:53 PM
We went with the Remington 700 Synthetic youth in 7-08 for a number of reasons. The stock is 1" shorter, and the 7-08 can take a wide variety of bullets, allowing it to be loaded down for coyotes/plinking or up for elk. If you are careful about keeping ammo separate, you can make brass by running .308 brass through a 7-08 sizing die. For the scope, I would consider a Leupold 2x7 compact, which should keep the weight of the entire package under 7-3/4 lbs.

An expert rifleman I know bought his two daughters Savage synthetic stock rifle/scope combo packages in .308 for about $369 at a local sporting goods store. These kids already are crack shots in the 11-13 year old range, and he thought that these packages would more than meet their needs and fit their abilities. He thought that, in time, they may want to upgrade the scopes, but the rifles were considered adequate for their lifetimes.