The kids that hunts these places don't account for too many deer and I think it would do more for our hunting future.What do you all say?
Antler restrictions on a limited number of WMAs being imposed or not imposed on youth hunters does nothing to improve or damage the future of hunting.
There are much greater threats to the future of hunting than this.
For three years (2005-2008), I worked for the Fish & Wildlife Service. During my time with the Service, the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv ( http://richardlouv.com/books/last-child/
) was very widely discussed amongst service personnel.
The premise of the book is that our children suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder, partly due to most of their outdoor exposure being very structured. An example of this would be school kids taken to a creek, given a set amount of time to sein for fish, and "Ok, time's up". They are loaded back onto a bus and put back inside to learn about what's outside.
For the purposes of this thread, we are talking about deer hunting so consider how a lot of kids are introduced to hunting. The guide (could be a family member or friend) selects the location, which will often times be a shooting house or buddy stand over a food plot. The guide takes the youth hunter to the location on the hunt day. The youth hunter shoots a deer. The hunt is over and the youth hunter goes home. Oh, before I forget, the youth hunter was playing a game boy or angry birds on the guide's iPhone, while he/she waited for the deer.
Now, what have we done here? Have we created a favorable impression of hunting? Sure, chances are the kid had a good time.
But, have we created a hunter? NO! Have we connected this child to the outdoors? NO!
The solution to Nature Deficit Disorder is to turn kids loose. Get them out in the woods and let them play! Now, certainly for safety's sake a youth hunt needs to have some structure to it, but make it your aim to connect this child to the woods, to the land, and not to the shooting house/food plot.
Another threat to the future of hunting is the decline of small game hunting. It is my belief that in Tennessee squirrel hunting is by far the best way to create a hunter. Wes Parrish has also made this same point. I think the biggest factor contributing to the decline of small game hunting is a change in culinary preferences.
People just don't eat squirrels. From the age of 8 to 18, I slaughtered squirrels, and kept my depression era grandfather well fed. Along the way, I learned what it feels like to bash a squirrels head in with the stock of a gun because I didn't choose my shot well. I ran into deer, turkeys, and all manners of critters. I learned how to move through the woods, and what movement/noise was permissible.
These lessons are unfortunately lost on youth hunters today.
I have a 18 month old daughter, another baby on the way, and plans for two more. If the Lord wills, my kids will be more than trigger-squeezers and deer-killers. They will be hunters and will know all that the title means.