Nine children responded to our challenge with essays that provided some important insights on what will help the hunting community get more youth involved in hunting conservation. While we had hoped for more participation, the low number of entries may reflect the short deadline we had or the ability of participants to travel on the specified dates of the hunt being offered, rather than interest level. Overwhelmingly, the essays we did receive point out that what youngsters want most is to spend time learning and sharing with adults they respect and who will listen to them. That theme clearly rang out in every submission.
We are all short on time these days; the demands of careers and fast-paced lifestyles eat up our hours. For some of us, discretionary income is in short supply, especially in this economy. Let's face it, ours is not a cheap sport. Some of the kids who responded had some great ideas that would make it more affordable for sportsmen to take kids hunting and to get more kids exposed to hunting and our conservation ideals.
The winning essay was submitted by Leigh Ann Bodenchuk, daughter of subscriber Michael Bodenchuk. She suggested that hunters, guide/outfitters and landowners work together to mentor youth and make hunting more family-oriented, offer special hunting opportunities that will make it affordable to take kids hunting and reduce the pressure to bag a trophy by focusing........(continued)