One of perhaps the most anticipated hunting days of the year is upon us; Saturday morning starts off the annual youth hunting weekend in Texas. Young hunters and adults alike look forward to this very special weekend for a variety of reasons. For many young hunters this is their opportunity to take center stage and reap the benefits of all the practice and preparation they have been through during the off season. The trips to the range, the work at the hunting lease, or perhaps all the scouting on public land will now hopefully pay big dividends once legal shooting time actually gets here.

Texas has a great history of promoting the next generation’s hunters and fishermen through various programs so the Special Youth hunting seasons are always very important. Sharing the outdoor experience with any teenager or child is both a luxury and a duty that adult hunters should embrace. By realizing that the youth of today will be the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts we are ensuring that the sport we love will continue to thrive.

If you are planning on participating in this weekend’s hunts there are a few things to remember in order to make sure that the time spent in the field is a positive for everyone involved.

Probably the most important thing to bring along on the hunt is plenty of patience. Don’t push a young hunter or add any pressure to the hunt, keep everything low key and all about them. Adults who get caught up in the moment can ruin the whole experience if they are not careful. Whatever the young hunter wants to do is fine, if they just want to watch the wildlife or learn more about the habitat then that’s okay. Keep the experience positive, it’s not just about killing an animal or a bird.

Also, be sure to take along some vital necessities such as plenty of snacks, drinks, and even something to waste a little time like an iPod to keep them from being bored. Remember their attention span is short and you are catering to them, this is a special day and it’s not about the adults.

One other staple that should always be in the blind bag, especially with kids, is toilet paper. Enough said, you will thank me later.

Now when the business of actually pulling the trigger happens be prepared for a wide range of emotions. Some youngsters have very mixed reactions after they shoot. I remember the first deer my son Hunter killed, we hooped and hollered and celebrated immediately. After we calmed down I took that time to impress upon him about what happens when you pull the trigger on a gun, “this is not a game and there are no re-sets” I told him. “When you pull the trigger on a gun and kill something it never comes back, it’s final, so remember that and treat guns with the respect they deserve” I added. Nothing makes a bigger impression in my book, especially when you tell them that animal could be a human being. Hunter still talks about that today so I know I got my point across.

One other bit of information to pass along is to be sure everyone involved in the hunt is properly licensed and has all the necessary tags, permits, and stamps required to participate.

Check online or at the Texas Parks and Wildlife office in Beaumont for any and all questions concerning the subject. Nothing puts a damper on the hunt like a ticket.