Both archery and bow hunting provide significant opportunities for young people to develop into young adults. Through its fusion of skill and sport, youth archery instills important values, and helps to encourage concentration and confidence. This unique combination makes youth archery programs and youth-only bow hunting seasons an important resource for young people and the adults that guide them on the path of life.
A Season for Youth
Youth-only bow hunting seasons allow hunters who are ages 10 or 12 and up to challenge themselves, or compete against others in their age bracket. This allows them to gain valuable experiences without having to deal with the dangers of hunting alongside mature hunters. Youth hunting seasons generally last only a few days or a single weekend, usually just before the normal hunting season. Many states offer mentoring programs that pair youngsters with adult mentors who provide supervision and training with devices designed for younger hunters. They require apprentice licenses and rules, though the mentor takes on responsibility for mentored youths’ actions, such that only 2 or fewer usually work with mentors who stay within a certain distance while out hunting.
Benefits for Bow Hunting
Youth-only bow hunting seasons and related programs specifically provide high quality, safe, and enjoyable experiences for young hunters who would otherwise be at a disadvantage. Except for those in mentoring programs, youth-only events do require permits, tags, supervision, and completion of education programs. However, they also introduce kids to the rich abundance of our natural resources even as they train in archery. In particular, young hunters are exposed to both hunting and our outdoor heritage, from learning about conservation to ensuring the continuation of traditions.
Cultivating Strength and Confidence
While archery has long helped hone physical abilities and confidence, young people can gain certain unique benefits from this sport. While youth-only bow hunting seasons and archery programs teach the importance of following rules, they also help young archers develop important qualities, including the following.
- Focus: Archers-in-training learn to ignore distractions and cultivate concentration that can be used throughout daily life and in high stress situations.
- Coordination: A good shot requires many simultaneous actions, from placing feet to nocking the arrow, gripping the bow, and much more. Young people learn coordination and consistency through practice of these actions.
- Exercise: Archery instills a strong value for exercise, from the work of drawing the bow with the upper body muscles to the walking required of bow hunting.
- Strength: Practicing proper draw requires intense training. This helps young archers build strength over time, along with the esteem of reaching their goals.
- Confidence: That self esteem builds up over time with the practice and continued improvement of skills. As young archers develop their abilities, they build a strong foundation of pride in themselves and their strengths.
- Relaxation: Young hunters also learn the importance of relaxing, whether savoring the release of an arrow into the sky or cultivating their calm before participating in bow hunting and archery tournaments.
More than anything, archery develops perseverance through the fusion of these qualities and skills, specifically as youth continually practice in order to overcome difficulties.
These aspects of bow hunting and youth archery provide young hunters with a structure that helps them develop the character and life skills needed to become adults. From youth-only bow hunting seasons to the general practice of archery, this sport is an essential means for young people to find their way down the path of life.