Passing it down │ Handing down the deer hunting tradition
As deer hunters, the world we live in today is much different than the world of that many of us knew as children. There were no cell phones, dial up internet and video games were non-existent (Unless you count Atari). Most importantly, many that grew up during those generations where involved in the outdoors either through deer hunting, fishing or some other activity. In many cases, those of us that grew during these days were exposed to deer hunting through a family member such as a parent or grandparent.
As Whitetail hunters, we may take for granted that we had those figures in our lives that connected us with the outdoors. Those who connect children with the outdoors through deer hunting, whether they realize it or not, are creating the future of the sport and conservation. Unfortunately, those outdoor mentors are becoming fewer and fewer, and today’s bows and arrows are being replaced with video game controllers.
Deer hunter recruitment, or the number of deer hunters being “added” is slowing in many states. Only two states in the country currently add more hunters and anglers than they lose each and every year. If you enjoy deer hunting, this should be alarming to you, and here’s why. In many states, sportsmen and women, and especially whitetail deer hunters, support the majority of the revenue utilized by conservation organizations in those states through the sale of hunting licenses or tags. As you can imagine, as sales decline prices must either go up to maintain the status quo which no one likes, or you simply acknowledge the reduction in funds and make do with what you have. This is an unfortunate reality that many states are facing.
The world of opinions and counter opinions, means voter turnout is more important than ever. Sharing our hunting and outdoor traditions and heritages such as deer hunting are more important than ever. Today’s outdoor youth are tomorrow’s conservationists and it is important that today’s youth not only have an understanding and appreciation for outdoor sports, but also have an appreciation for conservation and have an understanding as to why conservation is important and the role that sportsmen and women play.
For most of us, we do not have to stretch our brains too far to recall our very first time in the whitetail woods as a youth. It is a magical moment frozen in time that many of us will never forget. That moment and many since solidify who we are as a deer hunting community and help shape us into the men and women we are today. Many deer hunters never loose site of this fact, that it was never about the harvest as it was enjoying the fellowship with friends and family, developing an appreciation for nature and the sport of deer hunting. Some would say that it is hard for a youth to not become hooked with the sport of deer hunting; they only need an opportunity to sit in a tree stand and someone to teach them the way.
Many states offer youth deer and turkey hunting season, allowing for youth hunters the opportunity to chase these animals prior to the regular season and are a great way to introduce youth to the sport of deer hunting. It is truly amazing how an afternoon, or a day spent deer hunting with a child can instill a passion and drive for the outdoors, and our conservation heritage. As sportsmen and women, we all share a responsibility to ensure that the values and passion that we hold near and dear to hearts is passed on to the next generation. If you find yourself with an opportunity to connect a child with the outdoors, take full advantage for as they say, they are our future.