Don’t Forget the Kids

Bob SandersThe last Saturday in September is Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day in many states. Here in my home state of Montana, legally licensed youths 12-15 are eligible to hunt. Montana even allows kids to shoot pheasants that weekend – a definite bonus for young hunters!

I’ve been taking kids hunting now for about 15 years. I don’t have any of my own but always seem to be able to find a willing volunteer or two once the season rolls around. My first experience with the Youth Waterfowl Hunt was with three brothers; Tory (11 years old), Trever (10) and Tyler (9). Their dad Nick had bad knees from playing college ball but the boys were ready to get after the birds. bsYouthIt took us a few hours and many, many rounds of steel shot but when the dust and the feathers settled we had 15 birds in the bag, a very tired yellow lab and three kids that were hooked for life on duck hunting. These “boys” are now in their 20s and all but the youngest are what I would classify as “rabid” hunters. They live for the fall hunting seasons!

Youth season is a great way to introduce kids to the sport of waterfowl hunting. The weather is usually mild, the competition from other hunters is low, the birds are plentiful (and uneducated) and it gives the adult hunter a chance to work the dog, do a bit of scouting and work “the bugs” out of the gear a weekend before the regular season kicks in. Best of all it gives us a chance to spend time with the young people that are the future of waterfowl conservation. How can it get any better than that?

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1 Response to “Don’t Forget the Kids”


  1. 1 Jon October 4, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Your blog about taking youngsters hunting is missing the one piece of crucial information that I’m seeking: What kind of gun do you use for a new, young hunter? Is a 3″ shell in a 20 gauge the way to go, or would it be better for them to use a 2 & 3/4″ shell in 12 gauge?

    Does one action have a distinct benefit over another? O/U, Semi-auto, or pump?

    Do they need a youth model or will a shotgun for an adult with shorter barrels work fine?

    So many questions, so many gun choices on the market, and so little information available . . . what’s a dad to do?


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