Jerry Payne, a conservation officer with The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, explains the basics. "Two basic things you want to start them with is watch the barrel of the gun, what I tell the kids is what we teach in hunter's education classes...act like it has a laser on it and everything it touches, it cuts. If you point it at something, you don't want to cut, don't point it at something you don't want to shoot."
Gun safety is the most important part of hunting, and once learned, it will stick with kids the rest of their lives. Now it's time for the fun stuff...hunting.
"You get your foundation when you get them hunting. As a result of that, you can teach them safe gun handling and proper care and handling of a gun at a young age, that's important." says Payne.
That's good advice, and answering important questions shows he's ready to go, and Jerry has him squirrel hunting for a reason.
"The best way, by far, is to take a kid squirrel hunting. There's the interaction with their dad, they're right with them, there's not that constraint to get that big buck, sitting around in a tree stand for hours. There's movement, you're walking through the woods more and it gives the kids more of an opportunity to handle that gun and teach them how to be safe with it." says Payne.
Follow these few, but crucial, tips and you and you're children can spend the rest of your lives hunting safely in our beautiful woods.
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