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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm wondering if anyone can help me think through getting some gear. I have a family - husband and three girls ages 5-9. We are total novices but we'd like to get into squirrel hunting as a family (maybe eventually other kinds of hunting). I'm trying to figure out how to outfit all of us with the right things. Hubby I'll leave to figure it out on his own, but I have the following ideas about me and the kids:

The girls are really interested in bowhunting squirrel. We have a nice, long side alley where we can set up a target for them to practice - it's not real long but it will be good enough for now. Only the oldest girl has taken an archery class, and she's the most interested, so I'm inclined to get her a real starter bow. I'm balking at buying a real bow like the Genesis for all three because, ack, $$$. Are there bows for younger kids that are cheaper that would make good starter bows, to try it to see if they like it (they have drawn a bow before, just not done any amount of real shooting). I'm waffling, because I want them all to feel like we take it seriously that they learn, but, boy, $$$. I want them to learn firearms safety, too, and was thinking about buying an inexpensive Daisy BB gun for them to practice with and to teach them safety rules. Any recommendations for a BB? The Daisy is very accessible at the local KMart. Again, with this, we can use the side alley for target practice. If they show interest in a rifle, maybe I'd get the oldest girl a rifle later when she's hunting age.

For me, I have only had experience shooting at a BOW workshop. It was great and I was surprised to find I liked shooting and was fairly decent at rifle, though I liked shotgun more. I waffle about rifle vs. shotgun, leaning towards shotgun. I have eye dominance issues, though being left-handed but right eye dominant). When I shot at BOW, I shot right-handed for shotgun and that worked OK. I'm nervous about getting a right-handed gun knowing I'll be using a left-handed bow and, possibly, a left-handed rifle, though. Any thoughts? Does anyone else cross hands like this with different equipment? I like pump action and have thought about the Remington 870 because it's an easy gun to find and, on sale, relatively inexpensive. For a bow, I'll just go an talk to the archery store people.

I would love any feedback and ideas. And encouragement because this is all totally new to this city girl!
 

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Any recommendations for a BB? The Daisy is very accessible at the local KMart.

I can tell you this. While the Daisy BB is a fair facsimile of a rifle one will eventually hunt with, and learn proper safety techniques, a child cannot shoulder one propery until probably 7-8 years old. The gun is too long for mostly ALL youngsters prior to that age, and I would imagine girls even a bit longer. $30 is priced right for a learning tool I guess, but don't be disapponted when a 5-6-7 year old gal can't shoulder it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's really useful information. The older two are about the same size (they are 7 and 9 but they 7 year old is very big for her age). The youngest is pint-sized. She'll be 6 end of November but she still wears some size 4/5 clothes - just a peewee.
 

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Take each child you wish to "outfit" to the shop/store with you. Have them actually shoulder the firearm to make sure it's a proper fit. A .22 calibre has no kick at all, and minimal sound. I would suspect there are youth type models out there that will fit each of your kids. If shooting a .22 scares them in any way, give them some years, they aren't ready.

Bow... I'd definitely go the x-bow route.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We're going to go to the archery store Saturday. I will definitely look at the X-bow - I had not seen that bow before, thanks.

I think I will buy a gun for myself first before the kids
. We don't own any firearms at all, so I want to ease into it. My middle child is definitely interested in working up to it - I'm thinking when they are hunting age they can have one if they are responsible. Soooooo, shotgun or rifle....?
 

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If you are going deer hunting, I'd buy a rifle. I just bought a 270 Winchester last year. It's a good rifle. Others will probably chime in on what they use. I've shot my brother's 7mag before and it kicks my lil butt!


If you are just hunting small game, buy a shotgun. I have one shotgun. It's a 20 gauge that belonged to my dad. I took my first squirrel with that gun, as did he.
 

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If the girls are only going to hunt for squirrels with the bow the genisis would be perfect. 1 bow would outfit all three. There is no set draw length on this bow. I have just checked the digest and saw there is no minimum poundage for a hunter bow hunting for squirrels. You will need to get orange hats and vests for all of them. Keep in mind that this bow will not be powerful enough to kill a deer or meet the requirements of the big game laws.

When you hear x-bow i believe they are refering to a crossbow. If you go this rout you will need to find some sort of shooting sticks. Personally i would not buy this yet unless you plan to hunt deer with it

As far as a rifle is conscerened a 22 is a very nice gun for squirrel quiet and no kick. I personally would buy the 22 over the bb gun. You will eveventually be buying a small game rifle anyway. Shotguns are nice but might be a little much for your children.

I would suggest finding a good mentor as well. Someone who can show you all the ropes.
 

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Its refreshing to see a post like this. You are a good mother, not just for getting your girls into hunting, but showing them that its fun and natural. I teach alot of youngsters to shoot. Stay away from a shotgun for them in the beginning. Decent BB guns can be had used at any flea market, auctions, etc. They generally go for $10 or so. If you ( or your hubby ) can use a handsaw, shorten the stock on a second hand one for your little one. Its no real loss, and she will do better. Its no secret some of the best shots in history were/are women. I can tell you little girls pick it up quicker than little boys. For yourself, if you like shotgunning, every trap club has a practice night where they shoot for 5 or 6 bucks a round. They will gladly lend you a gun and teach you for free, they love it. Look on line or at NRA's website to find a club near you, and good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, they would not all need their own bows? I didn't realize they could all use the same one. Of course, they all want their own
but this makes more sense $ wise and, of course, until we know if they are really interested in being serious. Orange hats and vests are taken care of - still debating on other special clothing.

I thought that the above poster meant this bow http://www.cabelas.com/compound-bows-pse-brute-8482-x-bow.shtml for x bow. I didn't even think of crossbow. They make me a little uneasy.

The shotgun would only be for me and hubby, not for the kids. So far, my mind has stopped on the Remington 870 (price, available in big box stores, I like pump action, etc.). The reasoning behind the BB gun is that the girls can use it in the alleyway next to our house and learn basic firearm safety. We don't have any place where they could use a rifle without going to a range. Now, I wonder if it makes sense to get a .22 that they could inherit when I buy a shotgun in a few years? I think I'm likely to stick with a left-handed rifle, though, and they are right-handed. Hmm, maybe I should get my shotgun and encourage my husband to get himself a RH .22 and then that can be the ones the girls use in time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Aw, thanks. We started with really introducing the kids to state park camping and foraging for wild edibles (plants, berries) and it just followed to want to get outside and hunt animals, especially for my oldest. She really has taken to outdoors skills and was sure she wanted to hunt the minute she picked up a bow at camp. I think me and my husband have been thinking about it for awhile as a theoretical thing we'd like to do (he likes butchering and getting parts of the animal you can't usually get) but the fact that the girls took to the idea was really what got us going for it as a family activity. It's an adventure, for sure.
 

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You might want to check your local laws before using that alley as a target range. My city has a law against shooting bows and bb guns in your yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I looked and could not find anything that prohibited it. I don't think they even think about stuff like that, with it being a big city. If the noise bothers anyone, they might say something, but otherwise, I think it will be OK.

ETA: Jeez, I found an entry on PAFOA through googling that said BB guns AND water pistols are illegal in Philadelphia. Water pistols! It's not just illegal to use them - it's illegal to sell water pistols and illegal to possess BB guns!
 

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When I said x-bow, yes, I meant a Crossbow. You/husband... go with a 20 gauge for your first shotgun. IT delievers enough power to take down anything you'll need it for, but will save some of the "kick" a 12 ga. can deliver. Since you are first-timers, there's no sense having something kick like a mule and shy you away. The 870 you are referring to is a handy 12 ga. (if that's what you want in a 12 ga.) minimal kicking with 2 3/4" low brass variety shells.

Ahhhh, I forgot about cutting the stock down for your little ones. A $30 Red Ryder BB gun is a good investment to teach proper safety/handling/sight alignment to a target.... and yes, you can "shave" some off the stock to fit the little ones.
 

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BB guns have been illegal in Philly for years. That doesnt mean you cant get one and set up a small range with a bb trap in your basement. As, for a shotgun for you and your husband I would look for either a bottom eject shotgun or an over and under to help with your eye dominance issue. The 870 is a great shotgun and should serve you well for years if you by one.
 

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WestPhillyFam said:
So far, my mind has stopped on the Remington 870 (price, available in big box stores, I like pump action, etc.). The reasoning behind the BB gun is that the girls can use it in the alleyway next to our house and learn basic firearm safety. We don't have any place where they could use a rifle without going to a range. Now, I wonder if it makes sense to get a .22 that they could inherit when I buy a shotgun in a few years? I think I'm likely to stick with a left-handed rifle, though, and they are right-handed. Hmm, maybe I should get my shotgun and encourage my husband to get himself a RH .22 and then that can be the ones the girls use in time.
Not a bad idea. I think the 20 ga is the better pick as well. i have an 870 12 ga and it is a little heavy. The 20ga is lighter and is better on small game IMO. I have handle one compared to my 870 and it is like a dream. less recoil as well. I like the idea of the right handed 22. My father shoots left handed with a right handed 22. if you get good enough you wont have to worry about ejecting shells. You could also look at a single shot and it would be pretty much universal. They came a long way with safteys as well.

hope this helps. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I like that idea of a righthanded 22 and a nice 870 20g. Any recommendations on the 22? My husband is not a big guy - 5'5", on the stronger, fitter side, with monkey arms that are more like a taller guy's. I just found out about the Appleseed program which is a good bargain and I'd like to send him to that but he'll need a rifle. I think the BB gun is out, although I do know someone outside the city who set up a little range in her hallway ("no playing in the hallway while someone is shooting!"). If we had a place to go shoot outside the city, I might send one there and just shoot it there, but I don't want to break the law when it's very, very clear. It will be an important lesson for the girls to learn - always shoot safely and legally. On the other hand, there is no prohibition on shooting bows and arrows in your yard which makes sense to me as the prohibition on BB's is probably really about not having guns that look real. So, we'll just be going with that...
 

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Ah, he'd laugh - monkey arms is the phrase my shooting instructor used to describe herself, so it came to mind as a way to describe someone who might not look like they'd need a longer gun but might. We're the same height (actually, he's a hair shorter) but I'm always asking him to reach things up high. I need to get him on this forum. I just realized there is a wild edibles board - he'd go ape (harharhar).
 

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I like marlin rim fires. A 22 is perfect for starting out and should be less than 150 bucks. A 17hmr is a great gun but a little more on the pricey side if you go all out. A 22 mag is also good
 

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You are on your way to a great family experience.In my opinion you have made two great choices already.The 22 will be a valuable teaching tool for the children.The shotgun is bar none the most versatile weapon you can own.You can hunt any animal in Pa with it.A bow or crossbow is mostly used for deer or turkey hunting.I don't know anyone that can hit a flying bird or moving squirrel on a consistant basis with any archery gear.I have seen it on tv though.Lol.The best thing for your family is to find a local sportsmans club to join.You will find many new freinds,mentors,hunting companions and may be some area to hunt private land.You will also have a place to legally discharge the shotgun,22 rifle and the bows.I think if you check the laws you may find it is illegal to discharge any weapon.In the eyes of the law if you shoot a bow you are discharging a weapon.I don't care what you do just a heads up.I'm really happy to see the path your family is taking though.It can and will be quite rewarding.Congrats on the new guns for you and your husband.If you lived closer I would take your family as guests to the club I'm a member in.
 
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