Summer Camp: Kids Learn the Basics of Hunting Safety
Among the foliage of Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, is a collection of two dozen kids, enjoying the great outdoors.
“It’s really fun to be outside and to see nature,” said Ashley Wolford, 13, of Brooklyn Center.
But this time outside serves a greater purpose. This week, naturalists from the Three Rivers Park District are teaching the kids lessons that could have a lifelong impact.
“We are training younger generations to have firearms safety under their belts and be better hunters in the future,” said Cassie Janke, a Three Rivers Park District naturalist.
Janke is one of the people leading hunt and fish camp. By the end of the week, the kids who signed up will earn their Minnesota DNR Firearms Safety Certificate, which is required to buy a hunting license.
“My family hunts and I want to join them,” said Wolford.
Getting young people like Wolford interested in hunting at this age is crucial to the future of the sport.
The other day, we learned that only six percent of America hunts,” Wolford said. “And it would be really fun to make that number higher, and it’s really good that they’re safe when they’re doing it.”
Safety is one of the key points the instructors are trying to drive home.
“The difference between an accident and a tragedy is where that muzzle is pointed,” Janke said. “So that right there kind of says it all. Where that muzzle just has to always be under control and where your gun is pointing.”
Yet in addition to the various activities related to properly handling a firearm, the group also spent time learning the ins and outs of tree stand safety.
“Tree stand safety is huge,” Janke said. “A lot of accidents do happen from tree stands. Just either not wearing the right equipment, not being supported right or on the right tree. So it’s good to get the kids up there, know what the right feeling should feel like”
Once the kids got into their tree stands, they had the opportunity to practice a little archery.
All in all, not a bad way to spend a warm summer day.
“Yeah, you love to connect with the kids who are very technology-based, just to show them what potentially is just out their door,” Janke said.