Youth Small Game Thoughts

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tippecanoe
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2009/11/11 09:24:57 (permalink)

Youth Small Game Thoughts

bear with me this is going to be a bit of a long read..........

I get the Pennsylvania Outdoor News every couple of weeks, and in the most recent issue an article said that small game hunting, especially with youth, was way down.  I completely believe it, and I think it is a real shame.  They suggested possibly having a youth rabbit season, but I think that would be like putting a band aid on severed head. 

One of the reasons that I think small game is way down, is the fact that everyone and their sons are bow hunting nowadays.  Why go out after a rabbit when you could get a nice buck?  Bow hunting has become very commercialized with the popularity of hunting shows.  It makes me sick to an extent, it seems like everything is getting that way, and it isn't going to be good for our future, in any aspect, not just hunting.  I'm only 25, but I remember when bow hunting was not even close to as popular as it is today.  I have actually considered hanging up bow, and going for small game only in the fall.  I would just like to get one nice (130+) buck with my bow.

Another reason that I think it is hurting is the general lack of rabbits and pheasants.  This is directly connected to the over abundance of raptors, and not the ones in Jurassic Park, either.  It used to be that sportsman's organizations had bounties on them, and now, they are protected.  If there are enough bobcats around to have trapping and hunting permits released, then why not Red Tailed Hawks, and Great Horned Owls?

Other reasons include over involvement in sports, video games, and lack of fathers who small game hunt.  I don't know if anything can be done about these situations, being as they are social trends that would be incredibly difficult to reverse.  I played youth sports but still managed to get out and hunt/fish.  It was tough in wrestling season, but that was generally late small game and deer gun season.  As far as video games are concerned, the only kids that would rather do than hunt, would probably rather do anything then hunt.  Lack of dads involved in hunting?  What did kids do in the past if their dad didn't?

I hear a lot about the "instant gratification" in today's society.  I would like to think that this is over talked about but in reality, it is probably true.  I think a huge part of what is so great about kids hunting and fishing is that they get to earn something for themselves.  I'm not talking little kids bluegill fishing, I'm talking about 12-15 year olds.  I think the whole idea of it is being predisposed on the kids.  I think that is the right word for that at least.  Let them get out there and learn how the natural world works. 

Let me know what you guys think the problem is, and what you think about solutions.


#1

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    RhnstnCowboy
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 09:33:53 (permalink)
    Great post. I think you are right about almost all of what you say... I would add that another thing that has decimated small game numbers are cats, feral and domesticated, and to a lesser extent dogs...

    "Part of being a Leftist is the smug conviction that you and people like you are smart, while everyone else is stupid and/or evil"
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    #2
    Pork
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 09:46:22 (permalink)
    I also think you make very good points. Not much you can do about it aside form make a positive impact on the younger generation you may come in contact with. I try to, be it hunting, fishing, or whatever else. I think a lot of the problem is more young people growing up without a father figure. Sad situation, and amazing the difference a male role model can make on a boy in these impressionable years.

    As far as the small game populations, I'd agree with you & cowboy, the predators are on the upswing. Coyotes & red fox around my place have really put a hurting on the rabbit numbers. I've been working on evening out the ratio.

    "If you ever get hit with a bucket of fish, be sure to close your eyes." ><)))*>
    #3
    Blowchowski
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 11:31:19 (permalink)
    http://postgazette.com/pg/09312/1011411-358.stm
    Youth license sales are up 15%

    I have experienced first hand the lack of time in the field with both my sons. Soccer, High School Forensics, Soccer refereeing, Upwards basketball, marching band competitions.... none of this stuff was around when I went through high school.

    My wife already has things penciled into the schedule in mid-december for my youngest..

    Time. You have to set it aside..

    (rant over)

    I love cats. I just can't eat a whole one..
    #4
    Guest
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 12:18:37 (permalink)
    Think you pretty much hit 'em all Tippecanoe.

    I'd say one of the biggest things though is the lack of small game. Not only are kids not hunting small game - particularly rabbits & pheasants - but adults aren't either.

    We all know in cases where pheasants aren't stocked, their numbers are waaaay down from just a generation or two ago. There are some older guys (60+) I know who tell me they used to hunt the farms around my house - southeast Butler County - and it would be nothing to take a limit of pheasants AND rabbits every time they went out. The landscape has changed dramatically. I still see a few around here and there, but with the abundance of new housing plans and the loss of habitat, it would be pretty hard to hunt them.

    Rabbits can still be found in decent numbers in some places.

    Speaking from personal experinece, I got pretty disgusted of busting the brush all day and only putting out a rabbit or two. 5 years ago, I went on my first duck hunt and had a LOT more fun doing that than hunting for game that's not there.

    I'll hit up a gamelands where pheasants are stocked 2 or 3 times a year, but the vast majority of my hunting now is for waterfowl. Making the switch though required some significant investments in new gear and a dog. Not like you can just grab your gun and take a walk and hunt ducks and geese.

    Surprisingly though, I've offered to take several friends out for ducks and geese, along with their kids, but none of 'em seem to want to make a small investment in a federal duck stamp and some steel shot. I've even offered to let them use my shells. I have all the gear and a dog, but can't get anybody to even tag along with me.

    So the other reasons - sports and activities and work - are big influences too.
    #5
    fishin coyote
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 13:06:08 (permalink)
    Tippe,
    You've pretty much hit it on the head on the problems of getting kids/adults involved with small game.
    Here are what I chalk it up to.
    1-Loss of habit(clean farming,suburbia,etc.)
    2-The explosion of so called trophy hunting for deer(people don't want the small game hunters scaring off THEIR deer.)I have a few places that I can't small game hunt until after deer seasons
    3- the most important reason
    The population shift to urban living and overall sissyfication of todays kids.

    Mike

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    #6
    kill3ducks1deer
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 13:22:50 (permalink)
    I still love to small game hunt, me and my dad are out every chance we can get.  Its kinda sad though because a lot of the habitat for the game is being bought and homes built on it. I think the majority of the birds they stock are being killed by hawks and other critters like that. Me and my dad were talking, we think every year they should give out a set amount of hawk tags, kinda the same way they draw for elk tags, by random.  Just give out enough to keep the population alive but not to many so all the small game is dead.

    "Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it." Ed Zern
    #7
    DanesDad
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 14:08:53 (permalink)
    Dont discount how land use has changed. Used to be, a farmer planted a cornfield and there were fencerows all around it and stuff growing between the rows. Now, they spray the fields so nothing except corn grows and the fencerows are gone-the crop extends right up to the road. There isn't as much edge cover as there used to be. This is not even considering housing developments, strip malls and things like that. I see more rabbits in my yard than I would out on a farm these days. I haven't seen a ringneck in the wild in probably five years. Squirrel populations are probably pretty good, tho.

    The changes in society is probably the biggest thing. I could write a book....
    #8
    kevinupp
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/11 16:44:06 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: fishin coyote

    Tippe,
    You've pretty much hit it on the head on the problems of getting kids/adults involved with small game.
    Here are what I chalk it up to.
    1-Loss of habit(clean farming,suburbia,etc.)
    2-The explosion of so called trophy hunting for deer(people don't want the small game hunters scaring off THEIR deer.)I have a few places that I can't small game hunt until after deer seasons
    3- the most important reason
    The population shift to urban living and overall pussification of todays kids.

    Mike

     
     
    I fixed it for ya Mike........lol

    More than a million trees a year die to print environmentalist publications.
    #9
    fishin coyote
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 08:25:43 (permalink)
    LOL
    Thanks Kev. I was trying to be nice.
    on a different note I was up in yor neck of the woods last weekend but didn't know how to find upperman outdoors.

    Nothing is Free!!
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    #10
    tippecanoe
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 09:00:27 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Blowchowski

    http://postgazette.com/pg/09312/1011411-358.stm
    Youth license sales are up 15%




    This is very interesting to hear.  That really supports the more kids bow hunting theory I guess.  I'm glad to hear that license sales are up overall.  I wonder if there is any way to tell if they are getting bow tags, or if they are just rifle hunting deer, and just not going out much in the fall...

    #11
    Blowchowski
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 09:11:32 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: tippecanoe

    ORIGINAL: Blowchowski

    http://postgazette.com/pg/09312/1011411-358.stm
    Youth license sales are up 15%




    This is very interesting to hear.  That really supports the more kids bow hunting theory I guess.  I'm glad to hear that license sales are up overall.  I wonder if there is any way to tell if they are getting bow tags, or if they are just rifle hunting deer, and just not going out much in the fall...




    The archery tag is included in the youth license. Doesn't mean they're archery hunting though...

    I love cats. I just can't eat a whole one..
    #12
    Dr. Trout
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 09:27:51 (permalink)
    The archery tag is included in the youth license.

     
    HUH ???
     
     
    #13
    crappiefisher
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 10:31:05 (permalink)
     Think he ment for a extra $3 they can get the combination lice.
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    CrossForkWookie
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 13:23:13 (permalink)
    I think all the points brought up are good ones.  Add to it todays farming practices don't offer the cover they once used to and it's all combines for a perfect storm.
     
     
     
    .
    #15
    Blowchowski
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 17:27:50 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: crappiefisher

     Think he ment for a extra $3 they can get the combination lice.

    Yes, I did. Thanks crappiefisher.

    Dr. trout. Do you need a hearing aid?

    I love cats. I just can't eat a whole one..
    #16
    Dr. Trout
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 18:33:21 (permalink)
    Nope --- hearing is just fine ...

    The archery stamp does NOT come with the Junior License....

    The adult has to buy a combo license OR buy an archery stamp for a junior hunter to be able to hunt deer during archery season..

    It does NOT "come with the youth license"...

    I just was questioning what you meant with your post ... and I see you clarified the post after crappie replied...

    AND as the WCO pointed out at our last meeting junior hunters need a bear license to hunt bear, it is NOT included in any other license...  he said many do not understand that... and he has fined folks for not having a bear license if the junior hunter harvested a bear...
    post edited by Dr. Trout - 2009/11/12 18:37:11
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    doubletaper
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/12 22:51:56 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: DanesDad

    Dont discount how land use has changed. Used to be, a farmer planted a cornfield and there were fencerows all around it and stuff growing between the rows. Now, they spray the fields so nothing except corn grows and the fencerows are gone-the crop extends right up to the road. There isn't as much edge cover as there used to be. This is not even considering housing developments, strip malls and things like that. I see more rabbits in my yard than I would out on a farm these days. I haven't seen a ringneck in the wild in probably five years. Squirrel populations are probably pretty good, tho.

    The changes in society is probably the biggest thing. I could write a book....

     
    i agree with you on this and what tippecanoe mentioned. the youth will not keep hunting if there is not game that they can at least come across now and then when they are out.
    i don't know many kids that would keep going fishing time after time if he and his dad/mom never catch a fish!
    same goes with hunting!
     
    may i also add that i seen that the small game population, rabbits,  has deminished is do to, IMO, of the developing of the trappers lisc. before the trappers lisc. a hunter was allowed to shoot foxes and preditors as such on sight. yes i know this goes way back some years but i have hunted small game for a long time. most people that trap are more for a hobby than a great extra income due to the fact the pelts aren't worth much compared to the time and money spent in trapping. (trappers, you can correct me if i'm wrong) 
     
     

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    #18
    bingsbaits
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 06:41:17 (permalink)
    100 % correct...Trapping has gone right in the crapper price wise..
    Large coon may be worth 3 bucks. Not even worth carrying them out..
    I think the yotes have a little to do with it myself...
     
    My neighbor is small game hunting with his two young sons...
    They've been out a couple times here on the farm and never got to shoot..
    No rabbits, no grouse, no pheasants, no squirrels,  no game...
    When I was their age you couldn't walk this farm and come home with any shells left..
    If there is no game for them to at least shoot at then you will never get them to stay in the sport of hunting..

    "There is a pleasure in Angling that no one knows but the Angler himself". WB
     
     


    #19
    Guest
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 09:03:31 (permalink)
    I had a little free time yesterday afternoon, so I went out to look for some bunnies.  Haven't hunted them specifically in at least 3 years, maybe 4.  I spent 1 1/2 hours busting brush in small woodlots next to pastures.  Absolutely nuthin.
     
    As to my previous post in this thread, the lake across the road from the farm I was hunting had a flock of about 300 geese sitting on it all afternoon.  Can't wait till the South Zone opener on Monday. 
    #20
    Dr. Trout
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 09:36:43 (permalink)
    Bings wrote --- ""When I was their age you couldn't walk this farm and come home with any shells left..""
     
     
    So he should be the perfect one to tell us what has changed on that farm..
     
    Was it being farmed back then ??
     
    Same crops being raised ??
     
    Same livestock today ??
     
    Habitat the same or have trees been sold or cut down ??
     
    How about understory ??
     
    Browse lines visable ??
     
    Hedge rows ??
     
    Fields still growing the same things ??
     
    etc etc....
    #21
    S-10
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 13:20:08 (permalink)
    Hawks protected, Owls protected, fishers introduced, depressed prices of carnivore fur leading to less trapping, Coyotes used to be non-existant now number in 10's of thousands. All of the above kill game animals and birds 24/7 365 days a year.
    #22
    bingsbaits
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 13:53:03 (permalink)
    In reply to Doc..

    No

    yes

    yes

    no visible browse line

    same, more thorn brush...

    yes

    Pretty much the same farm as 30 years ago..except 1,000 more amish in the township.

    There is just no small game here...
    I have flushed one Grouse on the farm in the last 10 years...
    Fence and hedgerows used to be loaded with birds...Grouse and pheasants..

    We haven't small game hunted in 10 years, way to much walking for no shooting,,,
    On a good year we would get at least 20 Grouse a season. Sad that is gone I USED to be one he11 of a wing shot on Grouse...Can't hardly pass that on to my son, no grouse...

    I think the turkeys and yotes and raptors play a role but thats just my opinion..


    So Doc maybe you can tell us, if all is almost the same why no game ??

    Where have the Grouse gone?

    Why no more Pheasants around ?

    What happened to all the rabbits ?

    How does my neighbor keep the young boys interested in hunting if all it is is a walk in the woods ??
    post edited by bingsbaits - 2009/11/13 13:56:06

    "There is a pleasure in Angling that no one knows but the Angler himself". WB
     
     


    #23
    Blowchowski
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 15:41:53 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: Dr. Trout

    Nope --- hearing is just fine ...

    The archery stamp does NOT come with the Junior License....

    The adult has to buy a combo license OR buy an archery stamp for a junior hunter to be able to hunt deer during archery season..

    It does NOT "come with the youth license"...

    I just was questioning what you meant with your post ... and I see you clarified the post after crappie replied...

    AND as the WCO pointed out at our last meeting junior hunters need a bear license to hunt bear, it is NOT included in any other license...  he said many do not understand that... and he has fined folks for not having a bear license if the junior hunter harvested a bear...


    Can you show me where it says that?

    I love cats. I just can't eat a whole one..
    #24
    MuskyMastr
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/13 20:18:54 (permalink)
    #1 Problem CATS.

    The average housecat left outside for the night makes 23 kills (eats 1) Cats are decimating small game.

    #2 problem is raptor protection

    #3 Clean farming

    #4 Coyotes

    I run beagles year round cats are a huge problem.

    Better too far back, than too far forward.
    #25
    Big Tuna
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    RE: Youth Small Game Thoughts 2009/11/15 10:06:32 (permalink)
    It all about action! You can't get a young person interested in hunting if you see nothing all day or get one chance at a rabbit or ring neck.I cut my teeth on bunny hunting with a pack a beagles,and also did a ton on squirrel hunting with my 22.,later had setters and shot tons of grouse and****birds. When my son was young we did the squirrel and bunny thing,till deer,and turkey took over.Now we only hunt deer,bow and rifle,and flint,and spring turkey,if we didn't goose hunt,my shotgunning would be down to one shot a year spring turkey hunting.It's sad to see the loss of habitat,land to development,posted land,lack of farming,increasing population of fox,yotes,coons,birds of prey,feral cats.I love to own a couple of fast little beagles again,but the small game is gone, yea there places that hold good bunny's but there far and few in between.
    #26
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