Bring more kids into the fold by involving them in the end result of hunting, fishing, trapping

Who wouldn’t want to consider fishing walleyes and bluegills after seeing fish fillets prepared outside at a wild game feed.

Two recent events suggested to me that more young people are interested in the outdoors than we imagine, but maybe some of them need a better place to begin.

We should take notice of where these young people show up at our adult outdoors-related functions.

Instead of thinking that learn-to-hunt events are automatically the answer to giving youngsters an opportunity to start hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering in other ways, it just might be that we need to examine the end of these outdoors processes, too.

I continue to be impressed with the lake sturgeon spearing seasons. At the end of each day’s spearing, there is an in-person registration. Look around at all the young people watching and listening to the conversations. They admire what adults have been doing. It gives anyone, young or adult, a chance to see the excitement on the faces of spearers.

Compare that to what we’ve done with the gun deer season in terms of making it a closed shop of being able to do everything with a phone or computer. Each day there is a report to the media of fish registered, sizes, gender, weight, who and how. The television reporters are there. The newspaper reporters are there.  The kids see, hear and read about sturgeon spearing the next day.

Compared to sturgeon spearing, the news coverage of gun deer season is pathetic. Too hard to hunt for a story? No place for the general public, including young folks, to see the results of a day in the woods?

Sturgeon spearing is a spectator recreation as well as a participant recreation.   Deer hunting used to be. It could be again. Give the young hunters a starting point to outdoors activities, a beginning learning point, even if it is at the end of the hunt.

A recent game feed at a local church was attended by young and old folks. Again, it was a celebration of seasons, eating what was gathered, cooked by those who hunted, fished and gathered in other ways.

We take kids to baseball and football games and some then want to play these sports. We don’t take them to the coaches’ chalk talks or practice drills.

Maybe it’s time we turn some of these starting points upside down, you think?  Seeing the end product might encourage others to consider or reconsider the beginning point.


Note: Did you know that Outdoor News has a new program specifically geared towards building our next generation of outdoor enthusiasts? Let kids know to check out the OUTDOOR NEWS JUNIOR PRO TEAM.

Membership is free, and the program offers youth under age 18 a place to share photos, tips, videos and more!  

Categories: Blog Content, Bloggers on Hunting, Wisconsin – Jerry Davis