Uhhhh..Yeah they are a good idea, just because you're now too old and "Slow" isn't any reason to piss in anyone else's Cherrios..
Take your boy out and have some more fun.
May I say that spurious syn.(bogus, fake, false, fraudulent, sham, artificial, phony, feigned. misleading, deceptive, specious,etc...) plus side of your list of your could use some working over you think?
I will make no effort to hide my cynicism, because applied properly it provides - as the Greeks used to believe - a path to truth. Genuine cynics get a bad rap because they aren't trying to crap on things, but are trying to divine the relative virtue in any given situation.
Certainly there are negative people that are cynical, in this case I would expect they wouldn't try to do much more than mask their disappointment, envy and anger over the idea that someone else got a slice of pie. God forbid that a kid gets to hunt with their Dad and gets in one more day than the childless or child-free hunter. Their cries of Unfair! Unfair! would ring pretty hollow to me. Speaking of pie, I think it's is way better than cake, but am happy when anyone gets either.
So, I'm asking cynically - not negatively - why people who hate socialism, and believe that no one should be handed welfare, or that people are trained from birth to be moochers, suddenly ignore that on Junior Hunt days - the government hands out a what could be considered a "socialist" benefit to their families?
How many Dads are actually going to explain to their kids that this isn't a grab bag event? That it's genuinely designed to give them a chance to practice their skills without having an adult overriding or overwriting their efforts? Based on my guesstimate? Less than 10 guys statewide.
How does a parent walk that thin line between talking about the opportunity to hunt ducks, without dipping a toe into greedily talking about how many more they'll bag because it's the Junior Hunt? Very few, because most guys are going to measure their kids day by the strap they lug in. Socialism + greed + being rewarded for taking more? Is that a good math lesson?
How does the Junior Hunt grow duck hunter numbers? Especially since the kids have ample opportunity to hunt all season long in Jr Blinds and at one refuge that is entirely dedicated to them. They can also hunt regular blinds, and assigned ponds so they don't have a creeper sneaking up on them.
When I slice and dice this to try and find a little truth, the Junior Hunts are a great place for kids that may not be all that concerned about anything but killing a duck - or are really appreciative of the opportunity to try out their shooting skills.
If there is a little hypocrisy, or self delusion around them it doesn't lie with good intentions or the kids.
Follow the currency (not necessarily money) and you'll find motivations that aren't always the same:
- The State is doing it for PR purposes or just maybe a sense of duty to the kids - neither of which are bad reasons.
- Some parents are doing it right and explain it's a chance to spread the wings a bit - then take their kid out for the 5th or 10th time of the year.
- Others guys are using it as an out because they've ignored their kid all season… Maybe their season long strap numbers are way more important to them than spending time with their kid.
- Other guys are just greedy for birds and want their kids to be the same way.
While I'm genuinely curious about this stuff (despite that it might not mean much) and might sound negative on the hunts, I absolutely support EVERY kid having additional opportunities.
However, when the adults pat themselves on the back? I could do without that entirely. Call the Junior Hunts what they are - a reward day for the kids that work their butts off, trying to learn something that many adults are too damn lazy to even try.
Junior Hunts aren't about recruitment - even if they *might* be about retention.
The reason I think it's important to make that distinction is because the only thing that will actually grow the numbers are the guys that encourage, mentor and hunt with folks that may have never done it before.
Saying the Junior Hunt helps the numbers (when there is no evidence of that) provides an excuse for people who want to avoid actively recruiting new hunters. Over the years I've even heard guys say the junior hunt is the primary recruiting event for our sport. IMO they couldn't be further from the truth.
Maybe we should try something different. How about the guys that bring in new hunters for the first month of the season get to go to the front of the reservation line? Not only would the new hunters benefit - but it would also benefit the guys that operate on the principle that if they get nothing out of it - they will do nothing for it. There are plenty of guys that operate just like that.
And Ray? That's an awesome picture… Seeing your daughter out there having fun warms that little piece of coal in my chest. I can't believe how much bigger she has gotten. Kids grow too darn fast.
All this for a bowl of borscht.