November 3, 2010
USA Today on Youth Hunting
Following up on its story “Hunting Remains Bulletproof Industry” in September, USA Today focused on the gains being made for youth hunting in yesterday’s issue with “Young Hunters Take to the Wild.” The print edition includes a nice front-page teaser photograph for the page-three article.
The story focuses on states that have made it easier for youth hunters to go afield with a licensed adult mentor in order to give hunting a try before taking the time-consuming hunter education course — a sort of “try before you buy” concept. Since 2004, this approach has been promoted by the Families Afield program sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and National Wild Turkey Federation, with 30 states having passed legislation to lower or remove age barriers to youth hunting. The goal is to introduce youth to hunting before their interest and time are bound up in video games and other organized sports.
The Families Afield initiative is working. Some 418,000 apprentice hunting licenses have been purchased in states with youth-friendly hunting regulations, giving hunting the youthful boost it needs to replenish its ran ranks.
The well-done piece by reporter John Adams unfortunately contains a bizarre comment by an anti-hunting organization’s spokesperson about youth hunting being part of a “violent culture.” As we all know, hunting teaches respect for life, supports wildlife conservation and is one of the safest of all outdoor recreational activities.
The map below shows which states have successfully reduced youth hunting barriers: