Mentor Kids To The Outdoors

Kids Outdoor Outpost January 2019

Joe Schuster | January 4, 2019


The past several Outdoor Outpost columns have covered hunter participation and a growing concern that it has been dropping over the last 10 years. So what has changed? Why is it dropping? Well, for sure, it has a lot to do with what kids are doing with their free time.

Homework from school should be among the top, but it’s more than that. There can be family time and church activities. After school activities like football, baseball, soccer and other sports take up a chunk of time. Music, ballet, choirs and other cultural type activities will take another group of you. Then, there’s social media, time spent on smart phones and online games. It leaves very little time for the outdoors and hunting.

And oh what a show those folks are missing! Leaving your truck at “dark-thirty” on a fall morning during deer season as you walk through the woods with your hunting gear and ease by the trees using the glow of a headlamp or flashlight and maybe the moon. Stepping into your blind or tree stand, settling down and getting your eyes adjusted to the low light of the woods. Watching the stars ease off and the beginning purple and orange hues of the suns rays peeking over the treetops.

Then, seemingly all at once, the woods come alive with the sound of birds, squirrels and other critters that announce the start of their day. You might see a bobcat, coyote, hawk, raccoon, skunk, wild pig, bear or perhaps even the quarry you may be after; a legal deer. Right now, you may have school work, a big ball game or a dilemma on your mind. I have always found that a little “tree time” can be a nice bit of medicine that can bring clarity to some of these issues.

As you grow older, I can assure you that your lives will become increasingly filled with more issues, like the monthly house payment, a car or truck payment, getting married, having your own kids and their activities and much more. Man, does the outdoors provide the remedy!

Let’s take it a step further. Maybe you want to hunt but do not have a group of friends or family who can take you. Who is there to teach those who want to learn? Well, one of the first steps should be taking a hunter-safety class. Our state has several ways that you can take it online with courses varying in price from $9.95 to $29. Of course, you can take the classroom version of hunter ed, and its free. Visit for more information. So, that covers the book training side of hunting. How about the getting out in the woods side of training?

Well, R3 has a great new program that promotes hunters taking newbies out to hunt and teaching them the ups, downs, ins and outs. In fact, it’s a competition that can reward a lucky mentor and young hunter. Update: R3 mentor program is not currently active.

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