But no one thinks the events, by themselves, will recruit kids to hunting. Too many other factors are involved.
Numbers down this year
Minnesota’s youth turkey hunt began in 2004 and pairs youngsters age 12 to 17 and a parent or guardian with a mentor. Twenty-nine kids partook the first year. Around 300 kids have participated in recent years.
This year’s hunt is this weekend, but only about 200 kids registered, said Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator. He can’t explain the downturn.
“We may have hit a saturation point with that age,’’ he said. Or it could be because youths now can buy hunting licenses over the counter. Glines thinks a glitch in the DNR’s electronic application system this year might have caused the downturn.
Regardless, Kurre and Glines are committed to getting more kids involved next year. Meanwhile, parents usually rave about the youth turkey hunts.
“I thought it was really good,’’ said Gerald Wright, who accompanied his kids on last year’s youth hunt near Redwood Falls. “We enjoyed it a lot. It was well worth the time and effort.’’
Despite the difficulty in getting Lorna and Nathan out turkey hunting the past three years, he’s hoping to rekindle their interest this spring.
“I think it’s important for them to get out and do things outdoors and have fun,’’ he said.