Hey, naysayers, leave those kids alone

Hustvedt and his 11-year-old son Ronny in their blind during October’s Youth Hunt on public land near Brainerd, Minn.

In the latest print edition of the Outdoor News, two letter writers rang in with their opinions regarding the recent youth deer hunting season. I’ll commend both writers for entering their words into the public forum, but let’s dive a little deeper and get back to the serious business of providing hunting opportunities for young people.

When I wrote a recent blog about taking my son out for the youth waterfowl hunt I had a similar naysayer ring in with his comments. While I’m glad that at least one person read my writing, I could have done without a fellow “sportsman” speaking out against my favorite sport.

We are in crisis mode when it comes to keeping this sport alive. Moreover, we are in crisis mode with having a significant segment of the population that has their fingers on the pulse of conservation in Minnesota.

So why complain because a few kids got to get into the woods or the blind before you?

The argument about youth hunts somehow ruining the tradition rings quite hollow with me. My son and many of my students who participated in the youth hunt actually preferred getting to go out earlier without all the added pressures of the tradition. They appreciated the chance to walk around the woods without all the extra orange around.

Oh, and the argument about “too much pressure” on the herd or the flock also rings hollow. The youth waterfowling hunt affects local birds, but those birds were about to head south anyways with a fresh stock from the north on the way. As for the deer, where are they going to go? Last time I saw the Amtrak run through Elk River, there wasn’t a single deer on board heading to a different state – one without a youth hunt.

Let’s instead focus on getting more kids into the outdoors by actually bringing them along. Rather than publicly ripping on the kids, their mentors, and those looking forward to future hunts, talk with kids about how great hunting is for you. Better yet, listen to what the kids have to say. You’ll probably learn a thing or two.

Kids might not have the right to vote, but they are the key to the future of conservation and hunting. Let’s hope the DNR speaks with them as they set up the 2020 season structure.

Chances are they will find out that there’s still much more that needs to be done.

Get on board naysayers, or get out of the way. The kids are taking over and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Ron Hustvedt, Whitetail Deer

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