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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: kids

Take a Kid Hunting

There was never a point in my life where I thought, “When I have a baby I’m going to take them hunting with me before they can even walk.” But that’s sort of what happened.

When I got pregnant I assumed I would be able to leave Isabella with my husband while I hunted. As it turned out, my husband’s schedule wasn’t ideal and I had two choices. I could either: 

1) stay in the house with Isabella and not hunt,


2) take Isabella with me.

Beka and Isabella walking the trail

I was extremely nervous the first few hunts…you really have to pack and prepare carefully with a little one. But, our hunts went far better than I expected. My daughter just turned a year old and is my favorite hunting buddy.

I get a lot of questions on social media on taking a baby/kid outdoors. I’m going to share my best tips here. All of this can apply to taking your child hunting, fishing, or simply hiking in the outdoors.

Garris Family out and about

1. Plan ahead. This is definitely BIG. Does your kid wake up early? Nap several times a day? Hunt around their schedules. Morning hunts worked far better for me than evening hunts as my daughter liked to be in bed by a certain time and would get fussy in the evening.

Beka and Isabella all wrapped up

2. Clothing. Make sure your kid is comfortable. If it’s cold, invest in quality cold weather gear and pay attention to hands, feet and face as they will get cold first. Pack an extra blanket and layers and make use of hot hands. If it’s hot out make sure they’re in lightweight cool clothing and stay hydrated.  Babies in particular can’t regulate their body temperature as well as we can so I chose to hunt mild temperatures and nothing extreme.

3. Bug spray/Sunscreen. Yes, so far everything seems like common sense I know! Keep in mind that a lot of bug spray and sunscreen isn’t safe for young children and babies and you’ll want to use something natural without harmful chemicals. I used Bug Off spray with good results, and there are several great brands of baby sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun. Hearing protection is also another option to have if you are planning on loudly calling (elk, turkey etc) and don’t want to wake up your child if they’re napping.

Isabella riding in a carrier with Beka shooting her recurve bow

4. Pack/Carrier. Isabella was only a few months old when I started taking her on hikes. Since 99% of the places I go aren’t exactly stroller friendly, I opted for baby carriers. If you plan on shooting/hunting you’ll want to get one. For smaller babies you’ll want a soft carrier such as a wrap, sling, or front carrier that supports their head and neck. From roughly 6 months to several years old, a backpack carrier works best. You can shoot with ease while carrying them, which is great. Many of them are pricey but you can find great used backpack carriers online for sale at a fraction of the price. You will want to practice shooting while wearing it, as it does cause you to distribute your weight differently 

6. Snacks/water. This is a big one. For children under a year it can be a little tricky as babies tend to eat A LOT and mostly on demand. You’ll need to bring bottles if appropriate. For older babies and children, bring a variety of quiet snacks and water. I liked to use snacks strategically to keep Isabella quiet when I knew a turkey was close.

7. Diapers and wipes. Self explanatory. You’re going to need them.

8. Toys/Electronics. I brought along some soft (quiet) toys for Isabella to keep her distracted when she got fussy. For older kids you can bring an iPad with games and headphones as a last resort if they get antsy. 

Beka and Isabella on a successful squirrel hunt

9. Blind/No blind. I’ve hunted out of a ground blind as well as spot and stalk hunting with Isabella on my back. Both seemed to work well, just do what is best for you. There is really no wrong answer. There is really no exact science to taking a kid along on your adventures. Stay flexible and remember you want them to enjoy the experience as well. You’re never too young to get out and enjoy the woods.

By Beka Garris
Follow Beka on Instagram

Shooting with the Family

by Johnathan Karch

Bella and Alexa Karch Going to archery shoots is great fun for the whole family. It’s a great time to get in some practice with your bow and arrow, and enjoy the company of others who share your love of archery. I recently took my wife and three girls to an outdoor shoot for the first time.

My girls are Bella (6), Alexa (4), and Maggie (1). The main difference between shooting with other adults and shooting with kids is time. What I thought we could do in three hours took four. What I did not figure on was the additional time it takes at each target. I have shot with plenty of larger groups, but we all shot from the same yardage/stake. When shooting with the family you need to take into account that ladies have a different stake to shoot from and so do kids. It may not seem like it takes that long to walk up to the next stake, but it adds up target after target. What worked for us was creating an order of shooters and sticking to it: Dad, mom, Bella, then Alexa. That way the kids did not fight and everyone was on the same page with what was going on. You should teach shooting safety before you are on the range, not your first time out. Make certain your kids know how to act, and know the “do’s” and “don’ts” of shooting. That also saves time when on the range, as other groups of shooters can pile up behind you if you are going too slow. We let a few single shooters by-pass us, as that is the polite thing to do.

3Rivers Archery VP of Sales & Marketing, Johnathan Karch, does some 3D Shooting with his daughter Maggie

We used a baby carrier backpack to carry our youngest daughter, Maggie. Though this made it a bit harder for me to shoot, the hills and rough ground of an archery range would have made using a stroller all but impossible. I saw it as an opportunity to practice shooting with a hunting pack on, as the weight felt roughly the same. I highly recommend one for those with small kids.

My oldest girl (6 years old) was all about shooting and did great. She even got a few heart shots. My middle girl, Alexa, is only four years old and did enjoy the first 20 targets or so, but got tired after that. She did not shoot after that, but we turned the rest of the course into a nature hike for her, which she did seem to enjoy. Our baby Maggie loved the ride on dad’s back, and we packed plenty of ‘diaper bag’ supplies in the pack to be ready. The nice thing with the baby carrier is she could sleep without a lot of discomfort, but she never did. She was too excited and enjoyed the entire time we shot.


Bella Karch enjoys the challenges and fun of 3D Shooting

My wife was happy that we were all doing something together. We did not lose any arrows and only one broke when being pulled out of a log backstop. I call that a good day.

The advice I would have for other families is to enjoy the family time. We did score our shooting to let the girls see how good they did at the end, which really brought smiles to their faces. I got more joy from watching my girls show good shooting form than I did hitting a bull’s-eye. For baby care I packed like I would for anytime going out with Maggie: diapers, wipes, baby powder, etc. For the girls, I took extra arrows (which they didn’t need), and some extra water as everyone is miserable when a kid is thirsty.

Good luck on your next family adventure. Be sure to share your family shooting fun on the 3Rivers Archery Facebook page!

Johnathan Karch gives his daughter Alexa some shooting tips

Straight Shooting,

Johnathan Karch


For more information contact:

3Rivers Archery
PO Box 517
Ashley IN 46705


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