How many of you remember those days as a kid being in the outdoors, hunting, fishing or camping with your family? I have many memories as a kid that will live in my mind forever. The sad reality is, in our changing world, this is becoming less and less frequent for some kids. With phones, pads, video games, Netflix and YouTube, our kids are becoming more and more plugged-in, and less and less active outside the house.

To help get kids more involved in the hunting lifestyle the state of Utah has a mentor program. Utah’s mentor program is great. In the past you had to be related to the person you were trying to mentor; they have changed that and you can now mentor any kid (as long as they have passed a hunters safety program). This program allows you to take a youth out, let them hunt with you, and harvest an animal on your tag.

Photo Credit: Jeff Barlow

This year we are starting a movement. We want to get kids involved in the hunting experience. As the draw results came out in Utah, I heard lots of people on social media saying their kid didn’t draw a deer tag. Now yes, there are lots of other opportunities for youth to hunt, but there is just something nostalgic about hunting mule deer on the rifle hunt. We want to get kids that have not had this experience yet to hunt mule deer. You can do this where ever you are located. You don’t have to be in Utah. Many states have similar programs, so look into your state’s regulations on being a mentor. We want to share this movement on social media so if you want to be part of this movement, find a kid, take them scouting, setting trail cams or whatever you do to get ready for the hunts. Post up pics of you and the youth on your social media and use the hashtag #huntmentor. Let’s flood the internet with youth in the outdoors!!!

My tag will be used this year for a youth. We, Nimrod Outdoors, are going to host a big camp called “Camp Nimrod” for the general rifle hunt in Oct. We are hoping to have a couple other “Mentors” and youth in camp with us. We will do a big dinner and have the DWR come up and talk about conservation and have some prizes to give out to the youth. Then the next morning on opening day, the youth will go out with the mentor and hunt, hoping to fill the mentor’s tag. We are very excited about “Camp Nimrod” and what memories this will create for the youth hunters and their families.

Studies show that our the number of hunters in the field are falling at a significant rate.

Illustration by Nicolas Rapp
Source: USFWS

This graph shows the rising age of hunters. The age group of hunters 45+ years old has increased from 29% to 55% since the early ’90s (Green Segments) and the percentage of hunters 16-44 years of age has plummeted greatly from 71-45% (Yellow segments). If this trend continues we could see an end to our hunting heritage. The old group will get older and stop hunting, and the younger generation will lose interest in being outdoors. This is why we are pushing the #huntmentor movement. We must teach the younger generation about our passion and lifestyle, and teach them why it’s important.

Outdoor Life did an article about this very fact and stated, “Hunting participation peaked in 1982 when nearly 17 million hunters purchased 28.3 million licenses. Hunting numbers have steadily declined since. We lost 2.2 million hunters between 2011 and 2016 alone, according to the National Survey of Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a report issued by the US & Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2016, just 11.5 million hunted, that’s less than 4 percent of the national population.”

Where ever you are in this country, look into becoming a mentor for the next generation. There is nothing greater than being with a youth when they harvest their first animal. I have been privileged to be with 3 of my sons as they have harvested their first animal, and it is an experience I will never forget. There is something about passing on your love for the outdoors to the next generation. They will remember the experience and their mentor for the rest of their lives. If you want to be part of the #huntmentor movement. Contact us, Nimrod Outdoors, on our social media pages and find out more about how you can become part of this all-important program.

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