Passing the hunting tradition to the next generation

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FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO) -- Hunting season has already started and many hunters are planning their hunting trips for the fall. Wildlife officials are also gearing up by making a big push to get kids and young adults interested in hunting.

Photo: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Officials said the average age of a hunter in Colorado is 55 and getting older every year. And once older hunters stop hunting, there are fewer younger hunters taking their place.

The decline in hunting among younger generations has wildlife officials looking for new ways to recruit kids to the sport.

Kathleen Tadvick, an education and outreach coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, believes that the solution is getting entire families involved, not just the kids.

“We are focused on families,” said Tadvick. “So, if we can get the moms out there also, then the whole family can go out and enjoy the sport together.”

Tadvick said the problem isn’t so much that kids aren’t interested in hunting, they just have too much going on.

“Kids are in a lot of different sports,” said Tadvick. “If you think about the amount of time that parents have, if they have to have 3 nights a week with that sport and that all weekend with that sport, we are competing with all of that.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is trying to recruit young hunters by offering workshops and educational hunts specifically for kids and female hunters. There are pheasant hunts for youth coming up in the fall, and families can even sign up for big game hunts as well.

Thirteen-year-old Koby Houston is excited about hunting this fall with his family. He recently attended a CPW course in Fruita on field dressing big game. He said that the best part of hunting was spending time in the woods with his parents and sisters.

“You can spend more time with your family instead of watching video games and being inside all day,” said Koby.

Koby's sister, fourteen-year-old Mckinzi Houston is also learning about hunting through CPW’s hunting courses. She said not as many kids are hunting because of all of the technology and video games available today, but she says it is up to the parents to get the kids outside and introduce them to hunting.

“The thing needed to help kids get out and go hunting is encouragement and try something new. Because it is always good to go out and try something new,” said McKinzi.

Wildlife officials said the lack of younger hunters could cause problems in future revenue for agencies charged with managing game populations, but the real concern is the loss of a rich hunting tradition that has been passed down for generations in Western Colorado.

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