onX’s Sarah Allen: Raising Hunting and Fishing Kids

At a time in history where each day seems just a bit more chaotic than the one that came before, the importance of raising resilient, durable, outdoor-savvy kids seems sharper than ever before. For onX Customer Success Technician Sarah Allen, who has spent the past seven years helping onX users make the most of their own time outdoors, the ability to raise active, outdoor kids makes all the difference. Her three kids have all had the ability to spend time in Montana’s wide open spaces, learning the lessons only time spent outdoors can teach.

Sarah realizes that the best way to instill courage and confidence in kids is to build up their knowledge—which will, in turn, automatically build confidence. 

We sat down with her to talk about life lessons, the importance of raising kids outside, and the juggling act of getting multiple kids outside to experience the outdoor spaces we love.

What brought you into hunting, and how was it coming into hunting at age 18? What was that experience like? 

Sarah: I always wanted to hunt. I grew up in an outdoor family, fishing year-round, but never got to hunt with them. Between my parents’ divorce and my dad quitting hunting for a while, I never had the opportunity. When I turned 18, I was able to get my hunter safety info and get my own tags. Finding the right person to hunt with and learn from was the hardest part about coming into hunting late. I knew a lot of hunters but most already had hunting buddies they went with, so I bounced around a lot until I met my husband.

I feel like not having a good solid mentor made it hard to learn consistently good hunting practices. I remember one of my first hunting trips out, I counted on my friend to know the area and just went with the flow. We ended up finding some deer and the pursuit began, and before we knew it we had no idea where we were. Realizing you’re lost is one of the most scared feelings I have ever had. Ultimately we ran into another hunter, got our bearings, and found the truck right at dark. That experience ultimately led me to my passion for maps and navigation. I now always know where I am and how to get back.

How did your upbringing influence the way you wanted to raise your kids?

Being raised in an outdoor family was a big reason I wanted to raise my kids the same way. My fondest memories from my childhood involved being outside. I was raised right next to the river outside Missoula and swam or fished everyday. Especially in today’s society, I could not imagine my kids not having the hardships of hunting or fishing to keep them grounded. 

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How has hunting changed your family’s relationship with each other?

I feel it brings us closer. Being able to go through the struggles of a hard hunt but come out the other side is a great life skill to learn. 

Montana is well-known for its wide variety of hunting terrain. If you could pick one region to hunt for the rest of your life, where would it be?

This is so hard, but I would say the Rocky Mountain Front. Our family has gone there to hunt deer every year for the youth hunt, and it has become our family tradition. We always watch Escanaba in Da Moonlight together the night before the opener and spend the week together. 

For each of us, hunting traditions take on a different look. For some it’s food and cooking, for others it’s the ritual of gear prep and planning the best wall tent camp. Every hunter gets something different out of the process. What do you enjoy most about the hunting tradition?

I think the biggest excitement I get is the planning and finding new areas to explore. I fancy myself a map nerd and love scouring the map looking for potential places. Then out in the field I try to work with the kids so they keep their bearings and know their way back.

Hunting with family is a very special undertaking. What advice would you give for hunters looking to get other family members involved? What are your tips and tricks to help make a new hunter’s first time out in the field an enjoyable, productive experience?

Each person is different, and the adventure needs to match their level. Finding ways to enjoy every part of being out and educating throughout the day. Especially as our kids aged, we had to change and adapt to each kid and how they learn or what they enjoy. Our daughter got the nickname Gremlin, because if I don’t pack enough snacks she gets very hangry. She’s a little better now that she is older. 

Any favorite recipes you’ve developed / used over the years?

Our kids love eating the heart, so we always make heart tacos as the first meal we eat from each animal. Another favorite is bear sausage stuffed peppers. If only I could get our son to eat the peppers! He’ll only eat the filling.

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What’s your most-used onX Hunt feature, and why do you like it?

I mark so many Waypoints it’s unreal. The new Folder feature is ideal for sorting all my content for each species hunt or scout data.

If you could give one last piece of advice for parents wanting to raise outdoor-savvy children, what would it be?

Finding camps or classes is huge. These experiences allow youth hunters to learn from others, as well allowing them to form their own skills and knowledge.

Sarah Allen’s Bear Peppers
Appetizer
Prep Time
10 min.
Cook Time
10 min.
Total Time
20 min.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian bear sausage
  • 2 sticks cream cheese
  • 1 large scoop of sour cream
  • 6 oz. container spinach
Instructions
  1. Cook sausage, then wilt spinach in sausage.

    Mix cream cheese and sour cream with the cooked meat, then stuff peppers. We prefer Anaheim peppers or bell peppers.

    Air fry for about 10 minutes.
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Jess McGlothlin

Before taking the role of onX Communications Writer, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor and fly-fishing industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.