Deer season is here and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the first-ever youth firearms deer hunt that is taking place this weekend.
The three-day hunt began yesterday morning and runs through tomorrow (Columbus Day). It is specifically for deer and specifically for youths ages 14 and 15. If you haven’t done so already, it is highly advised that anyone participating in this hunt view the youth hunting and regulations pages on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website: www.dec.ny.gov.
This hunt does have its share of naysayers, especially in the Southern Zone. Those opposed to the hunt point out legitimate safety concerns.
Some are also concerned that pressure from the hunt will make deer tougher to pursue later.
On this latter point I say, “So be it.” You’ll just have to hunt harder, or smarter.
Groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the National Wild Turkey Federation and state agencies across the country have done studies and concluded that youth-hunter recruitment and retention are two of the most important factors ensuring the future of hunting. They’ve also concluded that young hunters fresh from hunter education classes are some of the safest hunters out there.
I personally wish the young hunters and their mentors the best of luck this weekend, and share your stories and photos with us.
We’ve already told you about the Chazy Rod & Gun Club’s heaviest deer contest. We also want to let you know that Ward Lumber in Jay is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their big-buck contest. This is for Northern Zone deer only and there are some great prizes, including a random drawing. Contact their store in Jay for more information at 946-2216.
One contest that will not be taking place this year is the New York Whitetail Classic. Founder Tony McCutcheon has done his best to keep the contest going during tough financial times. He’s going to take at least a year off from the contest while he considers its future.