Continuing the culture of conservation to ensure the future of the outdoor sports is one of many reasons to take a kid hunting.
It’s no secret that hunters comprise the largest group of conservationists on the planet. Portions of our tax dollars from ammunition and gun sales go toward wildlife conservation, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act. Organizations founded and funded by hunters like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have been leading the charge to restore habitat for elk across North America. Such examples of resounding success perfectly demonstrate how the outdoor community benefits not only wildlife, but the land itself.
Despite our best efforts, the impact that sportsmen have on wildlife conservation is on a downward trajectory due to declining numbers of new hunters. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 33 states have reported declines in hunting license sales over the last two decades. In Massachusetts alone, there has been a 50 percent decrease. The older generation that grew up with the sport is slowly trickling away while the youngsters are showing more interest in the Internet, smartphones and video games.
Now more than ever is the time to introduce a kid to hunting. If you have a son or daughter, take them with you. Heck, take the neighbor’s kids if you have to. Just one new, young hunter joining our ranks is a step in the right direction.
Of course, having more kids as hunters isn’t all about conservation. We all know the positive mental and physical effects from spending time in the woods. Youngsters need some time away from screens, and a day outside is the perfect medicine. They’ll breathe fresh air, get their blood pumping, and learn a thing or two from a mentor.
We’ve found one of the best ways to introduce a kid to hunting is slowly. That means in small doses and when the weather is fair. This decreases the chances they’ll associate the sport with boredom or discomfort. However, Mother Nature often has a way of switching gears at a moment’s notice. A pleasant afternoon in the stand can quickly turn into a miserable one.
Banks blinds take weather out of the equation. They’re sealed to ensure cold air stays out and your scent stays in. For those frigid days, an indoor-rated heater can keep you comfortable. Thanks to noise-dampening liners on the interior walls, kids can move around and ask questions. Pack a book for them as well as a hearty lunch.
With that amount of freedom, hunting doesn’t seem so much like a chore, but a fun activity. Again, those first few experiences will make a lasting impression, so it’s best to make them pleasurable. If you do, you can bet you have a hunter for life. That’ll ensure the continuity of our sport, as well as shape the future generation into a respectable bunch that’ll care for our wildlife.