There is nothing more special than taking a young person out in the field, forest or marsh to go hunting. It doesn’t matter whether it is the young hunters first time or not, the experience will create a lasting memory for both of you that will last a lifetime. Today, many states have created special seasons and hunts just for young hunters. These special seasons have created wonderful opportunities for young hunters to more successful in the field.
Better Chances for Success
Many states have these special hunts that open before the general season. This means that there are fewer hunters and less competition. Since only youth are allowed to hunt during these times, the young people have the day or weekend to themselves. Because these seasons and hunts typically open before the regular seasons, game is usually less wary and sometimes easier to hunt. This, in turn, can create a more successfu hunt for your young person.
Do Your Part
In all states with special youth seasons and hunts, the regulations require each young hunter to be accompanied by an adult, licensed hunter. For obvious reasons, this requirement is necessary to create a safe hunting environment for all hunters in the field. This also creates a wonderful opportunity for you to teach safety in a hands on way while hunting. It also allows you to focus on teaching your youngster all of the other skills that they must learn to be a successful hunter. Take the time to teach them what sign to look for, how to listen, how and when to shoot when the time comes and, most of all, how to just enjoy all of what our wonderful Creator has made.
Check Your State’s Youth Hunting Regulations
It is important to be familiar with all of the opportunities that your state makes available to young hunters. Many states are recognizing the need to give the next generation of hunters the opportunity to experience all that we have come to love and enjoy. However, some state are more youth friendly than others. Many states have taken the findings of the Families Afield Report and have acted on it in a very positive way.
Others still have very restrictive youth hunting regulations. In my home state of Ohio, I am very proud of our state’s proactive movement to get young people involved at an early age. A few years ago, Ohio created an apprentice license that allows young hunters to hunt three years prior to passing hunter safety. This has allowed my son and daughter to get interested in hunting at a young age. My daughter asked to take hunter safety at age six, so I agreed. Because she wanted to read the test herself, she missed passing the test by just ten points. She obviously wanted to hunt bad enough to sit through hunter safety training and take a pretty difficult test. Without an apprentice license, she would not have been allowed to try this wonderful sport of hunting when she had the interest. Many states don’t even allow youth to take hunter safety until they are twelve. I know many may disagree with me but if my daughter had to wait until she was twelve, I am afraid I would have lost her interest to other things that kids typically get caught up in, like sports, activities and video games!! If your state is restrictive to young hunters, I urge you to work with your state to try to convince them to see the importance of getting our children interested early in life when we can really make an impact on them.
Youth seasons and special hunting opportunities are a great way to spend time with your young person. Please take advantage of these seasons and hunts and pass on your love and knowledge as you share time in the field, blind or treestand. These youth hunting opportunities are a great way to help make the next generation more successful so they will want to continue to pursue this wonderful thing we call hunting!!
Dave Shellhaas, chief editor