The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 8, 2007

ETHAN BLOUGH | Program nurturing youth

Teach your children well. Graham Nash wrote those words in “Teach Your Children,” a song on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu album released in 1970.

At the time, the song was written about Nash’s strained relationship with his father.

Today, I think the words are directed to hunters with kids. Teach your children well, or the sport will continue its decline.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released numbers last week which reflect a rapid drop in hunters age 16 and older during the 10 years between 1996 and 2006.

According to an Associated Press report, experts say that one of the main reasons is that families believe they don’t have the time or money that hunting requires.

Pennsylvania is no exception.

Last year, fewer hunting licenses were sold in this state than the year before, which was less than the previous year’s total.

If the trend continues, hunting will go the way of ham radio – once all the rage, now relegated to little groups of dedicated people in various corners of the world.

Check it out: Go to Google and search for “Ham Radio” ... You should get about 1.7 million hits. Now search for “Hunting” ... 97.5 million choices are available.

Back when amateur radio was huge, you couldn’t Google the word ham or radio without getting 50 million hits for ham radio.

When was the Internet invented?

Google the word Internet – less hits than hunting.

Enough nonsense.

It’s time for hunters with families to take their kids to the woods and quit Googling stuff and Instant Messaging each other.

With the game commission’s Mentored Youth Hunting Program, the possibilities are almost endless for kids.

As outlined in a release on this page, the program encourages licensed hunters 21 and older – or mentors – to take kids to the woods to learn the ways of hunting. The mentor is to teach scouting, firearm and hunter safety and wildlife identification. A mentored youth can be any unlicensed kid younger than 12 that doesn’t need to have passed a hunter-trapper education course.

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