7 yr olds 1st trip to opening day

Skunkhunt

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This will be my sons 1st year going to the dove opener with me. I have taken him out after the opener but never to the opener as I have been going to the DWU fields for the opener. he has gone on open party boats fishing witn me, camping with me and shooting wit me so I am sure he is ready to go to the opener and it has been a great tool to use on him for his school behavior and performance. (Man I love this parenting thing you can use all the tricks used on you.)

Fist off let me explain the DWU fields. I grew up in Indio so the opener and season were a natural thing for me. I laid off hunting from 13-25 as my parents got divorced I went to school and became an adult and family man. I went to find all the old spots my dad took me to and WOW there is houses there now. I asked my dad if he knew any other spots; all houses. He was the sherriff there so we could go all over with no problems but now it seems we were pretty close to town and I dont think theses spots will work anymore. So off to the DWU fields it was. that is why the DWU fields and its a great shoot if you have had combat experience. Last year I watched a guy 25yds from me if not closer lower his weapon and fire in a straight line in my direction. OUCH that burned. Mind you I am abig guy 6'2" 275 college ball full ride, college wrestling , instructor in jiu itsu, kenpo karate and student of pencak silat as well as plenty of experience being shot at. Needles to say people dont try to stop me when I am in a rage
. i dont think that guy will be returning to those fields just on the thought he might run into me again. LOL.

Anyway, I am looking for your experiences taking kids out for an overnighter in the field. Any advice on what I should take, have or lessons learned. I would also GREATLY appreciate any locations or co-ordinates to take the kid to besides the DWU fields. I know this is alot to ask and I dont expect it to be posted on the pages but if you could point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.

I am just trying to make it fun for my son. When I asked him if wanted to go he said "dad, anytime you go fishing or hunting or shooting or camping or out in the wilderness I want to go that is my favorite thing and I will get all my work done in school all my electives in cub scouts and anything else to show I am grown up enough to go with you" I smiled and shed a tear the rest of the way home. THEN I had to talk to the wife. LOL "just take care of him and dont let anything happen to him or I will hurt you"


Thanks for all your help.
 

ESSposse

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Skunk....
That is so awesome my friend....
My 11 year old will be on his first licensed hunt on the 1st. He has been going with me down there since he was 5. You and he will have a blast. I can't speak from expirience on the DWU feilds, but, horror stories abound here with some first handers that have shot those fields.
I had a place that was a favorite of mine.... some silos.... became very popular. Had my son down there 2 years ago. Low shots... screaming... yelling.... I found my son cowering behind me 2 minutes into shoot time. Saw the fear in those little eyes and it broke my heart. We high-tailed it outta there to my second chioce spot and cleaned up. Salvaged the trip and my boys faith in me.
I don't know if you're camping out there or what. We're staying at the Pink Hotel in Calipatria. I don't shoot with a bunch of morons.... mostly family and close friends. And there is plenty of room if you're interested. Let me know when you're planning on arriving down there and we can set you up with a couple of spots that'll get ya birds and make sure your son has a safe and great expirience. That way you can keep a not-so-close-eye-that-you-can't-shoot on him, and let you have some fun shootin'.

If you're interested chime up. And you're more than welcome to attend the BBQ at the hotel too the night before the opener.
 

ESSposse

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Skunk.....
I noticed we're neighbors.....
Let's hook up. Some of us are going to Prado tonight to shoot some trap.
I'm off Ontario and Main. Give a shout.
 

Marty

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N0. 1: Water and Shade.
I only know of one spot near Indio where dove hunting was permitted last year. Most all of the 'old spots' have been incorporated into the city (thanks Del Webb). My sons were out with us last year. The older (now 10) hunted his first opener last year. He likes upland hunting, but the heat gets to him quickly.
Keep in mind that the best spots are not necessarily 'on' the DWU fields. Even away from the main blood line, we had guys drive up and try to 'push in' on my son's area of fire.
 

Skunkhunt

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Ess...
I shot you over an e-mail. we will be there tonight at around 7:00.

Water and shade. LOL I thought that was foe me. Hes young and can stand a little dehydration and heat. Funny as that may sound I hadnt thought of shade I always rough it with my hunting partner but he may not be ready for that yet.

Thanks
 

ESSposse

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Blue F150 with shell and a 10" lift.... I'll have my boy and my girl in tow.
We should be there around 7-ish.
 

glock40

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Skunk, that is awesome you take your boy hunting. Mine started when he was nine as an observer. He is 11 and will hunt this year.

I took him to Niland for the dove opener. It is very crowded and there were alot of idiots out there. However, I just made sure we were well away from other people, even if it meant having a less than ideal spot.

BTW - My son goes with me to my MMA class. He can do the boxing on the bag. I can't wait until he is about 100lbs or so. Then, he can start to learn groundwork. We goof around at home. I have showed him several armbars and chokes. However, many of the positions are hard to do because of my 165lbs.
 

BigDaddyB

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Be sure your son wears some shooting glasses, assuming you shoot in a crowd, and you might want to put some orange on him. I have never worn camo, except a cap, in my life and have always had birds flying over me.
If you are interested in an area that won't have the masses there, give me an email, and I will give you the number of a farmer that loves to see kids come out and learn about hunting. He may want a fee for using his property, but it is usually nominal for dove shooting. I'll be down there on Friday, can't make Wednesday this year, first time since '95, I was out of state that year, this year I have little vacation time left, so I'll hold on to what I have for quail/chukar and pheasant.
I miss my son not hunting with me, we had some very good times together, but he's into surfing and the party life, like I was at his age, only difference, I always made time for the hunting.
 

Cda55

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I have been on the opener with my son 2 years now. I'll miss this year(work). I bet I didn't shoot 10 shots in both openers. I was there to guide him and make sure he learns right. I am anal about safety and want him to get a solid start. This year I'll hang out with him and watch the show.(on the 4th) Teach em right and they will carry on this great sport with honor.
 

UPcrawfish

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Have a plan in place for a "slow" day... If you want to stay for the duration, the little one may get bored and lose interest fast... Does he have a Gameboy? Might want to slip it into a backpack and have available if he gets antsy.

"cub scouts".. missed that on the first read..
Let him pick some feathers and make something out of them for his pack for a "show and tell" or just tell the story of your hunt in front of the pack.. Might get a few more interested in the sport.. (might have a few moms/dads pass out in the meeting also
)
 

spectr17

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There's no way in heck I would take a kid to Niland for the opener. If you do, get him some kevlar and ballistic eyewear. I ain't joking either.

I'd cross over into AZ and shoot out somewhere all by our lonesome.

Losing an eye or going to the ER isn't worth it to me. I've been shot twice where I had to dig pellets out and it isn't any fun.
 

Zimm

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Say BigDaddyB,

I sent you an email...me and my son would just dig some private land to hunt. Anychance I can get that number too?


Thanks,

Zimm
 

QALHNTR

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Lots of good advice there Skunkhunt.

My now 15 year old daughter has been to 8 openers and my 11 year old son has attended 4.

Safety & water are a big time #1. Three years ago in Blythe my daughter just wilted in the heat (only 90). My fault I didn't keep her hydrated. Since then I pack lots of small water bottles and Gatorades. If they ain't peeing, make 'em drink more! The last few openers we've headed out to Lucerne Valley to avoid the slob shooters. Nowhere near as many birds or yahoos but it's a great way to set a fine pace and teach them shot distances.

I know that kids are all different. My daughter doesn't flinch at gunfire, but even with earplugs my little one is kinda jumpy. I make sure he gets off the first couple shots to get comfortable.

Ditto on the scout doings. Had my son wear his own bird bags and during the slow times we collected colored rocks, feathers and trash (show him how a shot shell is made & crimped) . We start our cubs picking up trash as Tigers and within the first year, they know that no event is over until the trash is picked up.

School starts early for my two this year so I'll be solo for the first time in years. Pink Hotel - here I come!
 

HuntFish

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There are places you can take kids in the valley, you just need to scout it out and also be ready to move if the zoo shows up.
It can be crazy over there in Niland. I have seen kids there that do pretty good though. Sometimes I think I like being around the kids more than some of the adults. At least when you yell "low bird" for the tenth time and not shoot at it, the kids pick up on that que a bit faster it seems. I think it would be great to see is a couple of those DWU fields that are open strictly to adults with kids only. I'd even give up my favorite spot to see that.

And who are these people that set up in the middle of the field??? Dang that makes me mad. I guess they don't care if they get peppered all morning.

I sure like the opener being on a Wednesday... maybe some of those nuts will stay home. I'll tell them Tuesday at work that I won't be in tomorrow, I think I'm coming down with that East Niland virus.
 

tinner

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i have shot niland for the past 5-6 years and i havent seen more then 25 hunters in a year. where are you guys sitting at?
 

VHRAM

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skunkhunt , Ive taken all my kids from the age of four they all wore the orange hat , vest , glass's and shooting muffs on thier ears. My oldest is now 21 my daughter is 18 and my youngest is now 6 he has a blast walking around with his red ryder bb gun.we go out to the owens valley and usually dont have to worry about crowds.theres lots of places to hunt its just not fast and furious like down south, but I dont have to worry about getting pelted.And I can fish when Im done hunting. It looks like a group is getting togather to go up from jho , youd be welcome .
 

jmabbott888

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I just thought of something, how do you guys get your wife to go along with your kids missing school for the opener? I want to take my boys but school starts at 8.
 

VHRAM

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this year for some reason school doesnt start for my son until 9/8 .what worse for me is my wife is a teacher. try convincing a teacher its ok .
 

hogshot

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Please,
Take it from me. I have a 10 y/o daughter, an8 y/o daughter and a 5 year old son. They have all been in the dove field with me. My son who will turn 5 on Sept. 5th was brought into this world while I was wearing camos and cleaning birds in the back yard. My wife yelled at me that her water broke and 15 minutes later I was in the delivery room while my shorthair was in the backyard eating a limit of doves. This will be my sons 3rd year out there with me, but never on opening day! Opening morning is all business. I hunt private land and it is only me and 6 or 7 friends, nevertheless it is still dangerous with a little one.
If you want to take your son on opening day, which is awesome by the way, you have to make the sacrafice and go to a place without other hunters or where you can at least get far away. The reason you won't have anybody around you is probably beause there aren't many birds. But in this case you have 2 choices, keep your man child safe and have one of the most rewarding experiences of your life [remember this will form his love for the outdoors] Or go get a limit of doves all the while being scared to death that something may happen to him. Believe me you won't enjoy the opener a bit if you are worrying all day long about the kids safety.
If we make a mistake and it hurts us, we can deal with that, but if you make a mistake and it hurts your prized possesion you will never forgive yourself.
There will be plenty more opening days for him to hunt when he will have the wherewithall to look out for himself but at seven years of age this is not one of them.
My advice is take him, just not to the crazy fields you are talking about. I also think you are a great man for continuing our greatest tradition. And after all if you only get 1 or 2 birds do you think he will care? It will be the most exciting day in his young life.
Don't forget the glasses and ear plugs
Jason Reynolds
 
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