I think it serves its purpose, for a couple of reasons. First off, I've killed a lot of ducks over the past 13 years or so that I've been allowed to hunt them. But I still remember every little detail of the first duck I shot, a mallard hen at some serious distance, irrigation motor humming in the background, having trouble seeing her flying over the cattails, how hard that single shot 12 gauge kicked (we call it the Mule now). I can honestly say that all it took was one suzie to get me hooked, now it may have taken a few years of juggling, high school, college and football to get there, but it was always all I ever wanted to do, just a matter of time, now I spend all my free time doing it. Now, that being said, it also helps that I had a father and in the case of my youth hunt a grandfather that were very supportive and into the sport as well, so I can see both sides of this argument.
However, we were able to round up a couple youth to take out for the youth hunt this weekend. Funny thing is, in our eyes, the thing was a total bust. We had been hunting the same couple fields all early goose season and seeing literally thousands of ducks every day. We have footage of ducks nearly landing on us while we are standing in the spread. We didn't see a single duck. A little background on these kids, one was 10 and the other was 14, both of them have some hunting experience, but like the majority of youth, it was deer hunting. As a matter of fact, one of the kids showed up wearing an orange hoody underneath his camo vest. We were about an hour into shooting light and had seen probably half a dozen geese working a couple fields about 3/4 of a mile away, so we'd call to them to see if we could get there attention, but it wasn't happening. We were absolutely frustrated when the weirdest thing happened. The 14 year old sat up in his layout blind, turns to us and goes, this is WAY more fun than deer hunting. I was bewildered, here, we were absolutely blown away that we couldn't find a bird for these kids to shoot at, but yet, they were having a great time.
Anyway, we did get them a shot at a goose and a couple other close encounters to get their blood pumping. But it didn't matter, the kids still had a great time, and if that leads to them becoming future duck hunters just like it did me, well I'd say the youth hunt is a great success and at that I could honestly care less if it screws up my opener.