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May 19, 2011

‘Take a teen hunting, and we’ll all be better off’

A Newsday article about a youth spring turkey hunt on Long Island, N.Y., prompted a spirited debate in the letters-to-the-editor column.

Under the heading of “Hunting is the wrong sport for teens” came charges that “with all the problems our nation has with teenage violence, drugs, drinking, bullying, etc., teaching [youth] to hunt is the worst recreation we can provide for them.” And from another letter writer: “Have Long Island’s supermarkets run out of food so that it has become necessary to go out into nature and slaughter peaceful living creatures?”

Fortunately, even in the suburbs of New York City, there are plenty of devoted hunters willing to support passing on our hunting traditions—in practice and in print. In a section called “The virtues of hunting,” a hunter pointed out, “I object to being classified with Roman gladiators, bullfighting and burning witches alive.” A 14-year-old who took a 25-pount bird that “was absolutely delicious on the dinner table,” said, “People who hunt have a better understanding of what a weapon can do. Therefore, they usually have more respect for firearms and life itself.”

Sometimes, though, it takes sarcasm to cut sanctimonious anti-hunters down to size. Responded one writer:  “The letters on hunting were right on the money. Teens do not need to spend time with their fathers learning how to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. They do not need to learn how to understand and respect nature. . . . Killing is not part of nature. The food we buy in supermarkets—cow, turkey, fish and chicken—all died of natural causes or committed suicide. Teens develop much better values by doing civilized activities like watching television and playing video games. . . . To anyone listening, take a teen hunting and fishing, teach them traditional values, and we will all be better off.”

We salute that writer. We could not have said it better.

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Tags: conservation education hunting youth hunting

Categories: Conservation, Education, Hunting, Media Inaccuracies, Safety, Shooting