There are two days that many first-time Minnesotan hunters will have marked in their 2012 calendars: April 21st and 22nd. Why? It’s the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt. Unlike the other days of the season, these two days will allow young hunters to get the first crack at these elusive birds. For most, it will be their first time out hunting period.
This isn’t only the case in Minnesota. Across the U.S., it’s a popular spring tradition that before it’s open season for turkey hunting, there is a day or two (or more) where only youth can hunt. The youth turkey hunt has proven a great time to introduce new hunters to the great tradition of hunting. First, they are not competing against the seasoned vets of the sport, so their chances of bagging a turkey are good, and second, they get to share the experience with an adult, who is focused on keeping the youngster safe.
Dates, ages and other requirements vary greatly from state to state. Florida had the earliest hunt starting on February 25th, 2012. Nebraska has the latest, ending May 31st. In some states there is no minimum age requirement. In Minnesota, hunters need to be 12 years of age and hold a firearms safety certificate.
Safety is the most important consideration in any hunting activity and particularly the youth hunt. The great news is that these hunts have proven very safe. The annual number of incidents on average is low, and continues to decrease every year.
Nearly every state now requires a mandatory hunter education program and this is one of the main reasons for decreasing accident rates over the years. But because youth hunts are for introducing kids to the sport, in many states it is not necessary for the new hunter to have completed hunter education prior to the hunt (as long as their adult supervisor holds the proper certification).* Hopefully this experience will get the young hunter interested enough so that when they can take a hunter education course and apply for a hunter license, they will.
The youth turkey hunt is a great way to get beginner hunters started on the right foot. If we’re patient, safe, and focused on the new hunter’s enjoyment, we’ll be sure to have eager hunters in the years to come. It’s all about learning for the newbie. Getting a monster gobbler is secondary.
*If you do need a hunter education certificate in your state, sign up for a class or online course now. Early season classes and field days fill up quickly!!
If you have a hunting enthusiast on your shopping list this year, then only fantastic hunting gifts will do! For passionate hunters, there is no better gift than a new toy to get him or her excited about getting out in the blind or in the treestand. To wind up your thinking gears, here are some great gift ideas to consider for that special hunter in your life.
Night Vision Binoculars
The deer come out at night, along with plenty of other critters that your hunter might like to observe. Make it easier for him or her to find game during the peak watch hours, a half hour before sunrise and a half hour after sunset, with the Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision binoculars. These 5x magnification binoculars with a minimum focus range of 6.6 feet, make this a great item for any hunter who enjoys scoping out their surroundings at night.
Protective AM/FM Headset
While hunters may need to use all their senses when stalking prey, they can still tune in to the outside world with a protective AM/FM headset. This headset features a noise reduction rating of 25 decibels to keep the sound level comfortable and safe. Two AA batteries will provide more than 250 hours of music and radio for their listening enjoyment.
Deluxe Gun Cleaning Accessory Kit
Guns need regular cleaning to keep them working properly. The Deluxe Gun Cleaning Accessory Kit is a three-piece universal brass cleaning rod that comes with eight different brushes. It can be used for a wide variety of hunting guns, helping to ensure that all your hunter's firearms are clean and functional.
Leatherman Super Tool 300
Forget about the regular pocket knife, even the boy scouts are drooling over this multi-tool. The Leatherman Super Tool 300 has nineteen different tools and can handle almost any job. It features everything from wire cutters to a bottle opener and can opener. Your hunter will never again have to search for pliers, because they’re conveniently located on this tool.
Bushnell Wireless Weather Station
The most avid hunters don’t care if it’s raining or snowing, they’ll still head for the great outdoors. However, they will enjoy knowing what to expect when they wake up on the morning of the big hunt. The Bushnell Wireless Weather Station is a clever contraption that is completely wireless and provides a three day forecast. No sensors are required, and the forecasts are updated every fifteen minutes. Wrap one up as a stocking stuffer so your hunter won’t have to complain about unexpected changes in the weather anymore.
Mossy Oak Camo Gift Wrap
It’s the finishing touches that make any gift truly special. While reindeer and snowmen may dominate paper this time of year, you can show your respect for your hunter's hobby by choosing camo gift wrap for his or her hunting gifts.
Caution: Hunting Stories Ahead
You can take a lighter note with a fun gag gift. Dress up your hunter’s workroom with these caution signs warning visitors that there are hunting stories ahead. The metal sign is the perfect size for hanging on a cabin door, hunting retreat or the wall of the garage.
Bring some sophistication to the hunting cabin with a stylish arrow rack. Providing storage for twelve arrows and two bows, it’s the perfect choice for the Robin Hood in your life. Classy and impressive, it announces to the world that you are proud to have a skilled hunter in the family. It will also encourage your hunter to get a little more organized.
Cowhide Fireplace Gloves
The thrill of the great outdoors is quickly lost if hands are burned while tending a fire. Protect your hunter by tossing these cowhide fireplace gloves in his or her stocking. Sparks from the fire will be repelled, making it easier for them to cook up some grub. Every time your hunter puts them on to keep their hands safe, they’ll be thanking you.
This year, embrace the hunter in your life by choosing gifts that make his or her hobby safer and more enjoyable. Have some fun with it by wrapping the treasures in camo paper and then sending your hunter on an indoor hunt. Or, simply use them as stocking stuffers. Regardless of the delivery method, your hunter is sure to be thrilled with this year’s gifts.
When Scott Cleveland went hunting last week, he must have thought he would come home with something better than two broken ankles. After falling 25 feet from a treestand, the 45-year old hunter was left to crawl three hours through the woods, unable to walk because of his injuries. Thankfully, the hunter was eventually rescued. It could have been much worse.
Each new hunting season brings new stories about successful hunts, big trophies, and near misses. Unfortunately, every year, it also means stories about serious accidents—most that could have been avoided.
When we think of hunting injuries, firearm accidents might be what first come to mind. But statistics show that in some areas, such as the east and Midwest, falls from treestands are actually the leading cause of serious injuries.
In a study of 130 hunting injuries, a report out of the Ohio State University Medical Center found that falls from treestands were responsible for 46 per cent of those injuries, while gunshot wounds accounted for only 29 per cent. Many of these treestand accidents were very serious, with almost 10 per cent resulting in permanent neurological damage (Bowhunting.com).
In North Carolina, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has made treestands a top priority in their Home From The Hunt™ safety campaign, citing their position as the leading cause of hunting incidents.
"Following some basic guidelines can prevent injuries and won't interfere with a successful hunt," said Travis Casper, North Carolina’s acting hunter education coordinator. "Maintain three points of contact when climbing up or down; wear a full body safety harness at all times; and check belts, chains and attachment cords before use" (The Outdoor Wire).
Experts seem to agree that a little education can go a long way when it comes to using treestands safely. HUNTERcourse.com has partnered with the Treestand Manufacturer's Association (TMA) to create a free online course that covers all of the treestand safety basics in only 15 minutes. You can take the free course here: http://www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/
So, before getting that great treetop vantage point, learn or review how to avoid an accident when hunting from a treestand. Make sure your hunting stories next year are about big game trophies and not unexpected falls.
And if you have family or friends who love to hunt, please pass on the link to the free course.
PS: Have a safety tip or story about using a treestand? Let us know in our comment area.
When you mix guns, wild beasts and Mother Nature, danger is inevitable. Most hunters are already familiar with Big Five game, a term coined by white safari hunters to describe the 5 most dangerous and challenging animals to hunt. Here we'll look at the Big Five, and other dangerous creatures you may not have expected.
One of the biggest thrills about hunting (besides taking home your big trophy) is the ability to detach from the daily grind and feel at one with nature. But heading off into the wild with nothing but yourself, your gear and of course, your hunting license, might leave you feeling out of touch with everyone and everything around you. To help solve this, just bring your Smartphone, that way you can connect when you want and still enjoy your time.
There are about a jillion 'weird/dumb laws' websites out there in virtual wonderland, but just about all of them are missing one important thing: credible references indicating where they found these crazy laws! For instance, according to one of these websites, "In New Jersey, it is against the law for a man to knit during fishing season" but good luck trying to find out why.
Extinction brings up some pretty interesting evolutionary considerations. Estimates say that by mid 21st century 30% of species may be extinct. In the end, extinction will be the ultimate fate of all species- but how long it will take to get there will depend heavily on humanity’s future courses of action.
Showcasing sharp intelligence and amazingly sophisticated hunting methods, let’s look at some skills you may not learn during your hunter safety course and take an in-depth look at the fascinating hunting techniques of nature’s most skilled hunters.
Before the agricultural revolution, human beings spent more time on this planet as hunter-gatherers, relying on nature’s resources and their own survival instincts to sustain themselves. The advent of farming changed all of that. With the increasing contact hunter-gathering societies had with farmers and herders, hunter-gatherer populations decreased in sweeping numbers throughout the course of history.
Have you ever tried to put on a full body harness at 5:30 in the morning when it is cold and dark? You know it might be a little challenging. Better yet, instruct your students to pick out a harness and demonstrate putting one on correctly from a pile of webbing that resembles a tangled octopus. To students this might be a daunting task. There is a solution. Full body harnesses have come along way in keeping hunters safe while climbing into and out of elevated stands.
At the 2010 IHEA conference, Hunter Safety Systems conducted one of the seminars I attended. This innovative company has designed a harness that looks like a vest with chest and leg straps and most of all, it is easy to put on. This vest comes in several different styles and can be reversed, with camouflage on one side and blaze orange on the other. It also provides a base layer keeping you warmer when the weather is cold.
I was so impressed with this design that I ordered two of these vests, one for myself and one for my wife. I have put my older full body harness on the shelf and have used this new vest for the last year. This vest is inviting, easy to put on and comfortable. Everyone who utilizes elevated stand should use a Full Body Safety harness. As instructors, we should give the Hunter Safety Systems a thorough evaluation and if it meets program standards and students needs, use it in conjunction with other full body harnesses to give the students an informed choice.
Check out the Hunter Safety System harness at: www.huntersafetysystem.com