Part of our mission here at See3D is to actively engage youth in hunting, conservation and the outdoors. That is why my 15-year-old son, Peter, is actually a partner of our fledgling camouflage company.
I am not alone in this vision it seems, the good news is that the involvement of youth, age 6-17 is on the rise. The number of youth hunters between 6 and 17 has grown by a whopping 60% from 2007 to 2017. At the same time, the growth in hunting participation in the general population has stayed relatively level.
This bodes well for the future of hunting, according to the Outdoor Foundation “Adults who were introduced to the outdoors as children were more likely to participate during adulthood than those who were not exposed to the outdoors as children. In fact, 37 percent of adults who were introduced to the outdoors during childhood grew up to enjoy outdoor activities as adults. Only 16 percent of adults who do not currently participate in any outdoor activities had outdoor experiences as children.“
These introductions can take many forms. Of course, absolutely take your children hunting. You can find scores of blog posts with tips and tricks about how to get your kids to go hunting with you. I see this in my own tiny town in Vermont. Among all of my hunting buddies, I can’t think of any that don’t get their kids involved at one time or another.
In fact, youth involvement has always been a strength in Vermont. Sometimes they are more directly related to hunting, for example safety courses, but there are also many other opportunities. My Junior Partner recently went to a local camp called The Way of The Bow. Just down the road in Vermont, the camp “students get to handcraft a beautiful and functional bow and their own arrow. Outside of the time they spend building these ancient weapons, we will get out into the forests to learn how to track wildlife, stalk quietly across the landscape, and of course, archery! As well as the physical skills we will also explore the code of the archer, an ethic of the responsibility with their weapon and in stewarding their landscape.”
The bow he hand crafted is #freakingawesome.
One thing I have noticed is that there might be a change in the nature of our hunting community as these youthful hunters get older. Their pathways to hunting, conservation and the outdoors are diverse and rich, but one thing that seems to be conspicuously absent is politics. Kids today are getting involved because of their love of the outdoors, not because of a political or ideological viewpoint.
Perhaps this is not such a bad thing. Too many times meaningful conversations between hunters and non-hunters come to a dead end. Politics seems to quickly become involved, and with our nation becoming more and more divided, people can’t seem to find common ground.
I don’t see this same trend among our youth. I can’t imagine at either of these camps there was much discussion of politics or ideology. Probably mostly about their collective love of the outdoors.
This gives me hope for the future. Maybe we will have less taking sides and more walking in the woods.
Featured image source from Youth Hunting Gear: 7 Items That Actually Work For Waterfowl
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Our Camo Suits are cut baggy and designed, if needed, to go over the top of other clothes.
For example, here in Vermont late deer season can get cold with snow on the ground, so our suits are cut to wear a warm coat underneath.
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