Youth hunts: Do they work?

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Youth hunts: Do they work?

Postby dewey » April 19th, 2013, 3:58 pm

Here is an interseting article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about youth turkey hunts and whether they work or not. ... 14871.html

Here is the article...

High schooler Lorna Wright plans on being in a turkey blind this weekend, hunting gobblers with her dad and brother.
“I’m excited,’’ said Wright. “I really like turkey hunting.’’
Three years ago, Wright, 16, and her brother, Nathan, 15, took part in a mentored youth turkey hunt in southwestern Minnesota aimed at introducing kids to turkey hunting. The goal of the annual youth hunts is to recruit young hunters.
But Lorna and Nathan haven’t hunted turkeys since. High school sports and other activities made it difficult.
“Last year, we didn’t have a chance, we were busy all the time,’’ said Gerald Wright, their dad. “There were just a lot of things going on. They were disappointed.’’
I mentored Lorna at that youth hunt in 2010. Two other kids I mentored at youth turkey hunts in 2008 and 2009 also haven’t hunted gobblers since.
Which raises the question: Do Minnesota’s youth hunts — for turkey, waterfowl, deer and pheasants — work? Do they hook kids on hunting?
The answer: No one knows for certain.
“If I look at kids who went through youth programs five or six years ago, a high percentage of these kids are still purchasing hunting licenses of some type,’’ said Jay Johnson, Department of Natural Resources hunter recruitment and retention coordinator.
“But that doesn’t prove the youth hunt was the key factor,’’ Johnson added. “When people are surveyed, it’s always about the relationship with a parent or another family member who hunts that is far and away the most important factor [in becoming a hunter].’’
“Youth hunts” in the past occurred naturally.
“We’re trying to replicate that with a program,’’ he said. “We’re not sure that’s even possible.’’
A ‘home run’
The youth turkey hunts are sponsored by the DNR and the National Wild Turkey Federation. Tom Glines of Coon Rapids is an avid turkey hunter and senior regional director of the group. He believes the youth hunts accomplish their goal.
“I think it’s still a home run,’’ he said. “I’ve seen and heard the stories [of kids getting hooked on hunting]. The actual percentage of hunters we create, I don’t know. But I hear enough stories that it’s worth it to me, to the National Wild Turkey Federation and the volunteers.’’
Cheryl Riley is a believer, too.
“They are absolutely worthwhile,’’ said Riley, vice president of education and outreach for Pheasants Forever. “The last national survey showed an uptick in hunter numbers. As we become a more urban society, hunting is probably going to decline. But what if we do nothing? At least we are stemming the tide.’’
She said youth hunts are beneficial to Pheasants Forever chapters because the volunteers who conduct the outings feel they are making a difference by introducing kids to pheasant hunting.
But no one thinks the events, by themselves, will recruit kids to hunting. Too many other factors are involved.

Numbers down this year
Minnesota’s youth turkey hunt began in 2004 and pairs youngsters age 12 to 17 and a parent or guardian with a mentor. Twenty-nine kids partook the first year. Around 300 kids have participated in recent years.
This year’s hunt is this weekend, but only about 200 kids registered, said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. He can’t explain the downturn.
“We may have hit a saturation point with that age,’’ he said. Or it could be because youths now can buy hunting licenses over the counter. Glines thinks a glitch in the DNR’s electronic application system this year might have caused the downturn.
Regardless, Kurre and Glines are committed to getting more kids involved next year. Meanwhile, parents usually rave about the youth turkey hunts.
“I thought it was really good,’’ said Gerald Wright, who accompanied his kids on last year’s youth hunt near Redwood Falls. “We enjoyed it a lot. It was well worth the time and effort.’’
Despite the difficulty in getting Lorna and Nathan out turkey hunting the past three years, he’s hoping to rekindle their interest this spring.
“I think it’s important for them to get out and do things outdoors and have fun,’’ he said.


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Re: Youth hunts: Do they work?

Postby maineute » April 19th, 2013, 6:08 pm

Next Saturday is our youth day for turkey hunting. In Maine adults are not allowed to hunton that day, they have another day for deer hunting the same way. I have plans to do take a youth out tha day for his first hunt. I think that I would have a hard time(being selfish like I am) taking him out on the opening day. I plan to do the same thing when my daughters get old enough.
All I know is this, if we dont give hem a chance they will never know if they want to do it.

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Re: Youth hunts: Do they work?

Postby ticklishtompro » April 19th, 2013, 10:17 pm

I think they do help. To get them out there and give them a good expeience is the goal. Will they all keep hunting in the future? No but everyone you gain is worth it. I would love to see the stats from the hunter retention of those that participated in one. If you don't give them the chance, the likelyhood of them starting are much lower.
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Re: Youth hunts: Do they work?

Postby WillowRidgeCalls » April 20th, 2013, 12:37 am

I would have to say, YES THEY DO WORK !!! I had a young man come up to me this year and thank me for mentoring him on his first turkey hunt 4 years ago. This year he came back as a mentor himself to teach other kids about the sport. We had 5 hunters return as mentors this year, after being taught from our youth/LTH programs. His statement of thanks for teaching him something he'd of never gotten to do on his own, is worth every minute you spend on these hunts. Granted, some of the people continue to hunt and some don't. Life deals things in many different ways, but a lot of these kids only get that chance to do it once, but it plants a seed in them that a few come back to it after a time and really then get involved in hunting after a short time away from it. It lights a fire in you that you can't put out, it may smolder a few years, but more times than not it flames back up. I've had a lot of folks say they haven't hunted in years but would love to get back into it. Programs like these not only help the young, but they also help people that have drifted away from hunting for some seasons, it builds that fire back up into them and gets them started again.

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Re: Youth hunts: Do they work?

Postby onpoint » April 20th, 2013, 9:36 am

Here in the "Sunshine State" I think anything that keeps the number of hunters up (turkey or otherwise) is a good thing. Our Game and Fish Commission has committed millions and millions dollars to purchasing and developing hunting land adjacent to our many rivers and streams. It seems logical that the "numbers" need to support these expenditures when they're presented to our state legislators :roll:
"Chasin' gobblers has a lot in common with dealing with a wife, 'bout the time ya' think ya' got 'em figured out, they change the rules!!!"

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