The following is from a news group with permission of the author, Richard J. Pierson
As I have posted before I have two kids, girl 11 this month and son 12, be 13 in june. I have taken them shooting since my son was 5 and when my daughter reached 5 I also took her. We had been shooting a bb gun in the basement and learning basic safety and marksmanship. Both kids have been helping me reload for many years and my daughter can now do the entire process from start to finish on pistol and rifle from the reload manuals. I also take the neighbors kids to the range and as a result end up with 4 plus me when we head out in the morn/aftn. I Even went as far as to pick up a couple of "lawn sale" .22's so they all have their own guns all the time. The ammo is cheap when bought on sales at the "marts" in 500 rd bricks and I stockpile it over the winter along with targets, balloons and clays.
They have a ball at the range and I think they also notice all the attention they get from the adult shooters [some who express negative opinions on kids at the range, but those are the normal "sourpusses that exist in life]. After all the summer trips to the range with the kids I noticed that more adults were bringing their kids with them to shoot, it almost seemed to be an impromptu thing on sat mornings that I plan on nurturing this coming summer and spring with maybe a kids league. I have also encouraged my son and daughter to find other shooters and hunters in their school. I plan on sitting through the hunter safety course with my daughter next fall as she has expressed and interest in hunting and the course is free, puts out good info on hunting, trapping, safety. I was frankly amazed when I sat through with my son that 30% of the class was female last fall. One of my goals is to get a school rifle/trap team going in our school system and I plan on getting involved in the school board in the near future with a goal of getting rid of who's in there now.
I was talking to a co-worker here, she has a 4 yo son, she's single and has no plans of remarrying. This kid hasn't a chance of running into someone like me where they live. The chances of him ever becoming a hunter or even a shooter are pretty poor [lives in NJ].
If I was to ask one thing of members of this news group it would be "Take a kid shooting, boy, girl doesn't matter", show them a good time at the range, don't over tax them, let them shoot what they are capable of, but DO IT". If you have a gun club organize a kids shoot and don't limit it to members only, find a teacher who hunts in your local school and get him to pass the word out to the kids in his classes [better yet find a principal]. Get a summer program organized where parents can drop off their kids during the summer to learn shooting [could be profitable for the club]. With a couple thousand invested in some 20 ga singles or pumps, a couple of MEC jr. reloaders and some clays.
I am originally from Newark NJ, my friends dad across the street hunted and it was no big deal to see a deer hanging from his eves during the seasons in NJ and PA. A couple of other neighbors hunted also, this was in late 50's and 61. If I went to that neighborhood today I doubt very much that anyone who lives there hunts legal game now. When I was growing up I took my hunter safety course in NJ and once I had the green card I was all set up to buy the license and go out on my own.
Now in PA they have to have an adult with them for the first 2 years. Which is both good and bad, he can't hunt on his own and can only hunt when I can find the time. Me, I used to take my shotgun and shells to school and leave them in the principals office and go hunting after school on the way home [8 miles, I went as the crow flies :-) ], the chances of that happening now are zero, my kids have to go though metal detectors and this is in rural PA, here a kid was suspended for having a 1" long Luger toy on a key chain. In another 20 years there will be no opposition to gun control as the govt. is getting at the children at a young age and constantly bombarding them with anti gun propaganda, you should not be afraid or offended when you are strip searched if you have nothing to hide, we know what is best for you. This is what scares me. When I grew up the draft was real and you were going even if you could only delay it with 4 years of college, didn't matter, you were going. This to my way of thinking was good cause it gave a major portion of the males in this country exposure to shooting and in some cases much more than they wanted [including being shot at :-) ]. But it did accomplish one thing, it taught that the rifle and pistol are no more or less than tools, they aren't animate objects that the media portrays them to be.
Well, the draft has been gone for many years, the military services are downsizing [while fed law enforcment upsizes] and those of us who served are getting older and the draft dodgers are running things. Most kids have no idea what life outside the US is REALLY like and for those who travel on tours you never see what the guides don't want you to see.
This post is somewhat rambling but there are alot of reasons kids don't hunt. The culture is not there anymore, 20 years ago the chances of running into an ARF type at a party was rare, now it's not. Alot of the legislation in firearms could have been stopped if hunters spoke up. Some of you disdain semi auto firearms for hunting so when assault weapons legislation went through you ignored it cause it didn't effect your bolt.pump.lever gun, well it did cause those pump, bolt,lever guns are going to be next. You single shot biggots better wake up too....
Billery is right, the children are our future so who gets em first wins. Tell the freak that Ronald McDonald probably kills 250 million animals a *day* in the name of "Happy Meals" across the globe! Then tell him "in the name of sport hunting"... each *day* sport hunters contribute $3 million to wildlife conservation efforts or $1.5 billion per year. Hunters contribute $14 billion to the U.S. Economy each year and support more than 380,000 jobs. For every taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife conservation, sportsmen contribute $9 dollars! Hunters and fishermen provide more than 75% of the annual income of the 50 state conservation agencies. Sportsmen are clearly the largest contributors to conservation-paying for programs that benefit all Americans and all wildlife. (source NSSF) Then ask him: What have animal-rights-activists contributed? Goto the National Shooting Sports Foundation web site for more info: www.nssf.org News releases and information concerning Vermont wildlife and fisheries are also available on this site. The address is: http://www.state.vt.us/anr/fw/fwhome/index.htm All Purpose Ammo - http://www.dragonsbreath.com RB's Treasures - http://www.rb-treasures.com Wenig Custom Gunstocks in Lincoln, MO. The URL is http://www.wenig.com New England Herpetological Society homepage http://web.mit.edu/morgana/NEHS/ If we're not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?" Kevin Fagan.