by Karen Mehall Phillips - Friday, January 13, 2017
Joining in the fun at the 45th Annual HSC Convention at The Woodlands Waterway Marriot, Jan. 13-15, are hundreds of enthusiastic young hunters all taking part in the HSC’s Youth Wildlife and Conservation Experience (YWCE). Sponsored by MidwayUSA, the YWCE offers special sessions for youth covering everything from wildlife biology, conservation, taxidermy, gunsmithing, hunting Africa and law enforcement as Texas game wardens’ explain what is involved in catching trespassers, poachers and illegal aliens as they cross the border into Texas.
If the attitude, respect and ethics of the young hunters I met are any indication, hunting’s future is in good hands. As noted by YWCE program ambassador and guest speaker Heidi Ritter, 21, of Huffman, Texas, “The YWCE and other Houston Safari Club opportunities offer an education many school students otherwise never would receive.” Ritter, who got involved in the program at age 14, added, “Even if you decide not to hunt, you learn so much about wildlife conservation and what it means to have a Second Amendment.”
In step with hunting programs offered by like-minded organizations such as the NRA and its Youth Hunter Education Challenge, the goal is to expose youth to the fun and excitement of our centuries-old hunting tradition. As noted by several young people I spoke with on the HSC show floor today, without hunting, there is no wildlife conservation.
As we hunters fight the war waged against us by anti-hunting extremists, it is critical that the next generation of hunters be prepared to carry the torch and, in turn, experience the joy of a life spent in the great outdoors. For more information on the issues impacting the future of hunters, hunting and wildlife conservation, visit the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website, NRAHLF.org.
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