"And there came a voice to him; "Rise, Peter; kill and eat,"
In 1991, 28% of U.S. hunters fell in the 25-34 age group, accounting for the largest share of the hunting population. That number declined to 16% in 2016, and there were similar decreases in the 18-24 age group. In 1991, 23% of the hunting population were between 45 and 64. That percentage doubled to 46% in 2016. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service we lost 2.2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016. I cannot imagine what that number is today, but it has continued to decline since then I am sure.
The memories of hunting with my kids over the years are memories I will cherish forever. In 2016, I almost lost the opportunity to make new memories with my oldest son when he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm at the age of 14. After months of hospital and rehab stays he is back in the woods and still has that passion for the outdoors. As a result of this, my life priorities have changed a little since 2016. Making new memories with my kids is at the top of the list and helping introduce a new generation to hunting or just helping a kid make new memories that they will forever cherish is right up there too.
I have been hunting with my son, Jarod, since he could walk. He and I have hunted everything from wild hogs to elk to upland bird and everything in between. In 2017 he completed his turkey Grand Slam at the age 17. We have a passion for the outdoors and hunting. We volunteer with the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Wildlife Associations Texas Youth Hunter Programs as Hunter Masters. We are also the Texas Ambassadors for the non-profit organization Hunt of a Lifetime whose mission is to grant hunting & fishing dreams for children age 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses or life threatening disabilities.
We sponsor several Outdoor Adventure Camps each year in Canton, Texas. These are 2-day camps with an overnight option. At these camps, youth 9 - 16 years of age are given the opportunity to earn their TPWD Hunter Education Certification or Bowhunter Education. These are hands-on classes with field exercises, guest instructors and lots of FUN activities. Studies show that practicing a skill triggers a process in our brain that helps us to improve performance. There is some classroom time but only what is needed to ensure the campers are grasping the material.
One of our goals is working to get youth in the field to practice what they have learned and helping them experience all the hunting and outdoor opportunities that are available just outside their window. We get to help do this through our volunteer activities with various organizations. Another way is helping to educate youth and their guardians on the various opportunities that are available to them, many free of charge. We also donate several hunts each year to youth and non-profit organizations.