- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Young hunters represent future of the sport
Nov 08, 2012 12:00 am
Tennessee’s annual Young Sportsman deer hunt was held in late October, and although the TWRA has not released the final harvest figures, one thing is certain:
For each of the kids, ages 6-16 who participated, their deer will be the grandest one bagged this entire season. Maybe of their lifetime.
I still remember every detail of the first deer I killed as a teen in 1963 – shivering in the cold pre-dawn, the wood-smoke smell of the November woods, the crunch of frozen leaves, the heart-pounding excitement of seeing a deer suddenly materialize from a red-brush thicket alongside an ancient logging road.
To be honest, I wasn’t the only one who shot. My cousin Jerry Hedgecoth, who went on to a long career as a TWRA officer, and Tom Thurman, now Deputy Attorney General in Davidson County, both supplied supporting fire. But it was a shot from my trusty 30-30 that (we think) dropped the deer.
It was a little forkhorn buck, not a trophy in the eyes of most of today’s antler-addled hunters. But to me it was the greatest deer ever taken in North America. A half-century and a hundred deer later, it still is.
Memories like that last a lifetime and mold future hunters. That’s why the TWRA is to be commended for its encouragement of youth hunting.
The TWRA annually sets aside special deer and turkey seasons for kids. It accomplishes two things: it reserves the forests and fields exclusively for the young hunters, thereby enhancing their chance of success, and it makes it easier for an adult hunter to accompany them before the “regular season” opens.
Many adult hunters say they get a bigger thrill out of helping a kid tag his or her first deer or turkey than by bagging one themselves.
Under the rules of the Youth Hunt each youngster has to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 21 or older, who must be in a position to take control of the hunting device and who must comply with florescent orange clothing regulations.
During the late-October hunt my afore-mentioned cousin Jerry took 13-year-old Cameron Bowman on a hunt. Cameron downed a sleek little doe. Jerry also helped him tag a deer on last year’s Youth Hunt.
This spring Roy Denney hosted a juvenile hunt on his Wilson County farm and helped a youngster bag his first gobbler.
Down in Hardin County, Mike and Barney Davidson hold an annual youth turkey hunt on their Indian Creek farm. For a fee, a youngster gets a guided hunt, with all proceeds going to the Davidsons’ Hunting for a Cure foundation that supports St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Hunting buddy Barry Stricklin voluneers as a guide. He says the Hunting for a Cure youth hunt is one of his most rewarding experiences.
The TWRA this year added a special Youth Hunt to its annual elk hunt, and last month a 14-year-old Greenville girl tagged a big bull.
The following weekend came the annual Young Sportsman deer hunt. Another will be held Jan. 7-8.
It’s a great TRWA program, supported by adult hunters willing to donate their time, energy and expertise. They understand that today’s young outdoorsmen are tomorrow’s hunters and conservationists. The future is in their hands.