In the last BuckTracker we read a lovely piece of writing by young McCall Casey, a budding deer hunter we are proud to call one of our own. But reader Jon R. brings up a wonderful point; everyone seems to agree that we need more junior members like McCall and we all need to do our best recruit more heavily.
But what, I ask you, is our best means for achieving this? “Take a kid hunting” makes a great bumper sticker, but the details can be devilish. For example, special “youth” hunting seasons are being used by more states, yet some hunters criticize them as a special opportunity that shouldn’t be granted. Or others point out (perhaps correctly) that a one-weekend event does not a life-long hunter make, and that we should be focused on projects/season with a long-term approach. Finally, many states lower minimum age requirements, and find that critics come out of the woodwork to wonder if youngsters of that ilk are responsible enough to trust with firearms.
So what are your ideas about recruiting the McCall Casey’s of the world? How does your state handle young hunters in terms of minimum age requirements, special seasons, mentored opportunities? And for those of you who’ve trained up a young hunter, what advice can you give for doing it right? From those of us who are fathers of youngsters to young men and women who simply would like to help a kid get started, it would be great to share some ideas and experiences!