OUTDOORS: Get kids involved in hunting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002


Even if you are an avid hunter, chances are you have never considered hunting as a lifestyle. The thought of hunting being a major force in day-to-day living probably never crosses most hunters’ minds.

Yet hunting is definitely as much a state of mind as it is an activity. Days off from the job, vacation and holiday schedules and yes, even wedding dates often hinge on hunting season dates.

Hunting is a significant aspect of American and especially Louisiana heritage.

Recreational hunting is enjoyed by millions of United States citizens. It is a combination of calculation, anticipation, mental alertness and physical exertion.

A typical hunting trip can produce excitement, intrigue, challenge, fulfillment and education. A true understanding of hunting gives us a better perspective of humanity’s role in our environment and part of the predatory chain. Nowadays people are more concentrated in urban and suburban areas with limited exposure to nature.

For many of them, fully understanding the value and validity of hunting is difficult. Consequently, they never embrace hunting as a lifestyle or even as an occasional pastime. Youngsters who grew up in families who have traditionally hunted have a greater tendency to succumb to the allure of hunting for a lifetime.

Similarly children who come from non-hunting families tend to adapt their lifestyles to other activities. There is certainly no shortage of participation-sport opportunities like baseball, football and soccer.

Additionally, there are many other outdoor-related activities like fishing, hiking and rafting competing for a youngster’s time. Not to mention countless hours spent indoors in front of a computer monitor playing screen games or surfing the “net.” But lots of computers and game boys will be idle for at least one weekend in the future thanks to special “Youth Hunting Days.”

The idea is to give kids under 16 the best possible chances for a great duck or deer hunt. By allowing them to hunt before regular opening day, the game is not only available but also less wary.

It is a wonderful opportunity for kids to get out before the harsh weather sets in and spend some time out in the field with a supervising relative or friend 18 or older.

If you know of a youngster who would enjoy giving duck or deer hunting a shot, here are the details: WEST ZONE: Nov. 2-3; EAST ZONE: Nov. 8-9.

No licenses or stamps or required for hunters under 16 who with their supervisor may take ducks, geese, mergansers, coots (poule’ deau) and gallinules those days. Daily bag limits and all other waterfowl hunting rules must be obeyed.

Those details along with East and West Zone descriptions can be found in the Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations Pamphlet available wherever licenses are sold.

There is also a Youth Deer Hunt. The same ages and supervisory rules apply except each young hunter must have completed a hunter certification program unless the adult supervisor has completed the course.

Both does and bucks are legal those two days and there are a number of state WMAs who will be allowing public hunting and some that will have lottery youth hunts later in the season.

For complete rules, regulations and a listing of public areas open visit www.wlf.state.la.us or get a copy of the LA Hunting and WMA Regulations pamphlet.

DON DUBUC is the outdoors reporter for L’Observateur.