Most of the time when we as outdoor writers relay the news to you, it’s about adults. But many years ago there were a larger number of youth hunting and fishing. During the past decade, those numbers seem to have dwindled. During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, I rarely saw the younger folks outdoors hunting or fishing. The causes of this have many tentacles. The cost of both hunting and fishing has soared. When families often have only one parent, usually a mother, it is not the norm to have much time for enjoying outdoor activities. With the cost of those activities being what they are, the bread winner simply doesn’t have the extra money for those activities. However, it does seem that young people are now going outdoors on their own. Besides that, the ones that are parents now are taking many of the kids along with them. This experience will go a long way toward inspiring a new generation of youngsters enjoying the outdoors.
Seven-year-old Carter Brooks of Austin has been going hunting with his dad since he was younger. Carter spent many hours accompanying his dad, Corby, even though he was too small and too young to handle a rifle safely. By his dad taking him along as his hunting partner over the years, Carter has learned to love hunting. Besides that, he has had hunter safety instilled within his mind so that safety is a natural habit to him. Finally this past year, Carter was allowed to take a really big feral hog.
It seems that young Brooks and his dad had been seeing a number of feral hogs feeding around their deer feeder. Earlier in the year when whitetail deer season was going on, the pair let the hogs walk in hopes that a buck would show up. Once the deer situation was taken care of, the two hunters returned to their blind with pork on their minds. After being almost silent for what seemed like forever out, comes this huge black feral hog. Having spent many hours learning his shooting skills, Carter took the safety off, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The animal only took a few steps and down he went. Carter’s dad was right there to not only offer encouragement, but to also revel in the young man’s success. Will the pair be out hunting many more times over the years? You can take it to the bank that they will.
Another 7-year-old took a trophy antlered whitetail while hunting with his grandfather near San Saba. Cole Simpson took the 20-1/2 inch inside spread, 10 point buck with his .243 caliber rifle. This youngster took another big buck this year, as well as two big ones last year.
Certainly it should be obvious that this youngster has been hunting for several years. By having his dad and grandfather taking him into the outdoors, Cole will continue to be part of our future generation of outdoors people. He will be a part of the army of hunters and fishermen who carry on our American heritage. These are the people that pay billions of dollars buying licenses and paying taxes to finance the continued healthy outdoor fish and animal population.
If you believe that only boys go out and enjoy the outdoors, then think again. The outdoor world has evolved from a time when men would go out alone or with their male buddies; now the females are going afield both in hunting and fishing and doing really well at it.
I have seen many younger girls and women in the outdoors over the past few years. They have become experts in both fishing and hunting. The fact is the women and girls, for the most part, are experts at shooting. They also seem to have the magic touch when handling anything from rod and reels to crab lines.
The really impressive thing is that this generation of both boys and girls are migrating back to the outdoors. They come in all sizes.