Importance of Youth Hunting Seasons
Growing up in central Minnesota I can still remember the excitement of youth day duck hunts. It opened a week earlier than the regular season and my parents took my brother and me out to our favorite public hunting location and sat with us one on one, teaching us everything we needed to know. In fact, one year my dad had to work so just my mom took us out and we had a wonderful time together. We already had taken our hunter safety courses, but this was a chance for us to get out and experience a hunt of our own. I can’t emphasize enough how important this was in getting both my brother and I hooked on hunting at an early age.
Of course I can still remember people who complained about letting the kids hunt a week ahead of time; claiming they spooked the ducks and made it tougher for them on opening day. I would hope most understand by now that hunting is on the decline and we need to do everything we can to get kids involved. If that means having a little tougher time on opening day, tough break in my opinion.
You’re now starting to see youth seasons opening across the country for everything from ducks to deer to bear. They usually allow kids to hunt a couple days prior to the opener, and have made the tags/licenses extremely affordable in most states. This ensures it is not a huge financial burden on the parents, and also allows them to get out there one on one with their children. This hunt is not about the parents, but about the kids and it really makes a difference. It’s a time for the parents to teach kids about safety, hunting ethics, the rules and laws, etc. In our family it was never about the size of the deer or the number of ducks we could take home, it was about the experience and providing a little meat for Sunday dinner.
You’re even starting to see more and more outfitters offer discounted hunts for youth day, such as Golden Triangle Whitetail in Illinois. Not only do they offer a youth hunt where parents can come along free, but anytime during the regular season if a parent brings a kid along to hunt they’re half priced. It’s little things like this that can be done to help grow the sport of hunting, and there’s something everyone can do whether it be big or small. We all owe it to each other to ensure families continue hunting together and enjoying the great outdoors together.
As for youth hunting seasons, if people wonder if it really matters take me as a perfect example. I was just a young girl in central Minnesota who got to go out duck hunting a little earlier than everyone else and I was immediately hooked from that day forward. Now I’ve made it my goal to try and get as many new people involved in the sport as possible and I think youth hunting seasons are a huge help.
Melissa Bachman is an incredibly hardcore and intense hunter – perhaps one of the more passionate hunters you will ever meet.