by Leon Archer
New York State, in regard to hunters, has done a couple of commendable things, in my estimation, during the last decade.
Lowering the age to 12 for junior hunters was one of them and the other was the instituting of youth hunting days. Personally, I would like to see the age for youth hunting licenses set at 10 years because New York State has one of the most age restrictive regulations for hunting in the entire United States, but I’m not complaining. It used to be 14.
Youth hunts were started to give new young hunters a chance to experience hunting without the competition that comes at the opening of the regular seasons. Most like the idea, but some really take offense at youth hunts.
Last Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of distant gunfire – probably from the river south of the city – and I tried to figure out why someone would be shooting. It took a little while for me to remember that the waterfowl youth hunt in our region was scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14. From the amount of shooting, I don’t think those youngsters got a lot of ducks, but I’ll bet they had a great time all the same.
The youth hunt days are usually scheduled to take place two weeks before the regular gunning season. That not only gives the new hunters a chance at totally unsuspecting ducks, but it also allows a two-week period for the local ducks to settle down and forget about those two nerve racking days before the real onslaught begins.
Duck season opens for real in our region Oct. 27 and if you live near an area harboring ducks and people can hunt there, you will very likely awake that morning to the sound of gunfire.
A good friend our ours, Mrs. Hunn, on the west side of the river, has a large flock of ducks that call the river and lawn in front of her home, their home as well. They are safe enough there, but a percentage of them each year will wander far enough away to encounter hunters and some of them will never return to their former sanctuary.
It’s the way this world works; everything eats something else that is living or was living, and sometimes it may seem sad or even brutal, but nothing lives forever in this world, and that all makes hunting, fishing, farming, and gathering reasonable and honorable pursuits.
Chances are better than even that one or two of Mrs. Hunn’s ducks may have fallen prey to those youth hunters I heard last Saturday morning. If so, I am pretty sure they will be appreciated when they make their final appearance beside the potatoes and vegetables.
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