Hunting Games and Books for Kids

Years ago, I happened upon some coloring books that had a bowhunting theme running through them with pages of pictures of bears that could be colored. Others had numbered dots, which when connected, revealed a buck with a trophy set of antlers. Another activity I found required the child to circle various items a bowhunter might include in a backpack. Other pages had kids shooting at spot targets that could be colored.

I snapped up these books and gave them to my nephews, hoping they might become curious in hunting with a bow and join me in the field when they got older.

Back then I was surprised and pleased to see something which might peak a child’s interest about the outdoors and hunting other than being dressed in a camouflage onesie or bibs that said “future bowhunter” stenciled on them. The younger you can introduce a child to a sport or outdoor activity the more likely they will continue to enjoy it.

On a recent visit to my local Cabela’s store, I was very impressed to see their toy section. The selection of plush toys was great, but what manufacturers now offer children in the way of games and toys to promote the outdoors and hunting was nothing less than amazing.

Instead of playing with Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs like I did, kids today have action figures like “Hunter Dan,” who comes with his own Mathews compound bow. But wait, there’s more. For the girls there is “Hunter Ann,” who also has her own Mathews bow and quiver full of arrows plus a safety harness, camo hunting clothing, a treestand and decoys. Ann even has binoculars, a rangefinder and a deer call. Both figurines are set for any type of hunt a future bowhunter’s imagination could dream of.

I bet Hunter Ann will even let Hunter Dan use her ATV.

There is also quite an array of board games. Whitetail-Opoly and Forest Animal-Opoly are definitely games the whole family can play. With a setup similar to the popular Monopoly board, each game is full of facts about each animal as well as information teaching the players how to be good caretakers of forestland by providing food and water for their favorite animal. Even the tokens used to advance around the board are shaped like a crossbow, binoculars or even an antler shed.

Of course, the book section was truly second to none as far as I was concerned.

Spring Thunder by Keith Beam and Steve Karras is probably the best-designed book for introducing young children to hunting. It’s an interactive audiobook series and the first one tells of 6-year-old Drake’s first turkey hunt. Push buttons create the sounds of a variety of turkey calls as well as the gobble of a boss tom. It’s a great way to teach children the honor and tradition of hunting whether they read it on their own or have it read to them. You can search online or go to a bookstore to find or order this book.

Cooking on a Stick by Linda White with illustrations by Fran Lee not only had campfire recipes for kids, but also outlined the equipment and ingredients needed. “Hibernating Bananas” is just one recipe contained in this book. And all you need is a banana, some marshmallows and a chocolate bar. In 10 minutes over the campfire you have a sweet dessert. There was also a packing list of suggested items to bring along on your camping trip included and additional methods of cooking, like using a pouch or grill—all suited for little hands to do with close supervision of course—to give new meaning to “camp food.”

Duck Hunting for Kids by Tyler Omoth deals with, what else—bagging a duck. Each section focuses on such topics as hunting history, species of ducks, hunting gear, tips and techniques, safety and conservation for duck habitat, all in a vocabulary a child could understand. One fact in this book told of strong currents and heavy fog, once causing nearly 1,000 ducks to be swept over Niagara Falls on December 25, 1947.

Antlers Forever is another one found and was written by Frances Bloxam and illustrated by Jim Sollers. This is the story of “Orville the Moose” who learns not to fret when his antlers get loose. What parent or grandparent wouldn’t totally enjoy reading this darling, fact-filled book to a child? And, the illustrations are too cute for words.

There were lots of card games like Wildlife Bingo or Dream Buck to choose from as well. I especially liked the activity books, which included word games, mazes, picture puzzles, jokes and riddles that keep kids involved in a way apart from video games. There were such a variety of activities I couldn’t imagine any child getting bored with.

So, the next time you need a gift for a very young future hunter, think about a game or book that will introduce them to the outdoors and teach them the benefits of hunting. You’ll be creating memories and maybe even a hunting partner.