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MARTINO: Looking in the rear-view mirror

From the Kokomo Tribune, John Martino has some interesting thoughts on getting kids outdoors.

Quoting from the article,

My son’s friend represented the young hunters we lose without even knowing it. Aside from shooting a few 22s from time to time, he had little exposure to hunting. His parents mentioned their son’s enthusiasm to me one day and asked if we would mind taking him. What an honor I thought. They trust me to take him in the field, before daylight with a loaded firearm. Although his parents thought I was doing them a tremendous favor, in fact, it was quite the other way around.

Six Ways to get Started Hunting

Mia Anstine has posted an essay on Six Ways to Get Started Hunting on the Beretta Blog.

Quoting from the article, one of the ways is,

Other hunters - There is a vast family of hunters in our nation. Many of them have topped the “five stages of hunting” and moved on to what my husband calls the “sixth stage of hunting.”  It is the mentor stage and comes when you have exceeded the five stages of hunter development. Hunters who reach this stage have accepted hunting for all it is worth and want to share the passion with others.

Winter geocaching gets young gamers off the couch

The Minneapolis StarTribune has an article on using geocaching to get kids outdoors.

Quoting from the article, 

Anoka County Parks has a geocaching course for beginners and children at Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes. Geocaching equipment rentals, added to the nature center about three years ago, are popular in the summer, but winter users are warming to the trend. (The prospect of emerging from our current deep freeze in the coming days shouldn’t hurt.)

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt in which participants use Global Positioning System receivers to find “geocaches” — boxes

The future of hunting 2.0

The Missouri Department of Conservation published this article discussing the future of hunting.  The key:  mentoring.

Quoting from the article,

Important as these measures might be, they do little to address the most important tool in hunter recruitment – mentorship. Successful hunting requires a depth of knowledge that takes unaided beginners years to acquire. Learning from an experienced hunter shortens this learning curve dramatically.

In keeping with the Show-Me State’s long history of citizen-led conservation, individual hunters have stepped up to fill this gap.

Mentoring program reaches far beyond actual hunts

From GoOutdoorsNE.com, here is an article discussing the benefits of their mentor hunting program.

Quoting from the article,

“Maybe I would have found the same thing if Devin had taken another class somewhere else,” Wendy said. “I don’t know. But when I got him into the mentoring program ...”

Her voice trailed off. After composing herself, she continued.

“These men are so amazing,” she said. “They devote so much time to somebody else’s kids. It brings tears to my eyes — tears of joy — for what they’ve done for my son.

“We got real lucky when we stumbled across the mentoring program.

A Hero For The Next Generation

Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors is one of over 400 recruiting and retention programs around the country.  We are very proud of the work we do, giving kids who aren't connected to the outdoors the opportunity to experience the Great Outdoors.

The NRA's America's 1st Freedom magazine has an article on another program that is doing similar work, focusing on at-risk kids and getting them outdoors.  We had the honor of having Mr. John Annoni speak at our Bust-a-Clay for Kids' Sake event last year.

Quoting from the article,

Annoni says, “Imagine Outward Bound, the Boy Scouts, Big Brothers and Sisters

2014 Youth Participation Initiative Squirrel Hunts

From The OutdoorWire comes news that the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) is partnering with the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Mississippi State University Extension Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to host seven youth squirrel hunts throughout Mississippi on Saturday, February 8, 2014. 

Quoting from the article,

During the one-day hunts, youth participants will be exposed to principles of hunting and firearms safety, squirrel hunting with dogs, and the daily life of squirrels and their habitats.

When should kids learn to shoot

Luke Clayton has an article in the North Texas e-News discussing when kids should learn to shoot.

Quoting from the article,

I’ve found it best to work with youngsters on a one-on-one basis when learning the basics of shooting and firearm safety. Each boy received his first 20 gauge shotgun at the age of 11 and both quickly became excellent wingshots. They were hunting birds with me a year or so before I allowed them to actually harvest deer.

Through osmosis, if nothing else, I’ve learned a thing or two about getting youngsters started in shooting and hunting.

The Future of Missouri's Hunting

The Kansas City infoZine has an interesting article about the future of hunting in Missouri.

Quoting from the article,

Other Missourians join forces to bring along the next generation of hunters. The Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation (MHHF) is a good example. It got its start in 2006, when several Kansas City-area hunter education instructors decided to help hunter-education graduates take the next step and actually go hunting.

Chris Ellis: Small gesture leads to lifelong love of hunting

Chris Ellis has a nice story in the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch, telling how he became a life-long hunter.

Quoting from the story,

Some 30-odd years later, I can recall vividly the hunt with the old man and his hunting dogs. He loaded the kids and the dogs into the back of his old, blue Ford truck. Our job was to hold on tight to the dogs' collars as we bounced up the washed out road that led to the top of the mountain overlooking the river. Once we reached the ridge line, he stopped the truck and instructed us to turn the dogs loose.

Shortly thereafter, we heard barking and the old man

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