Friends of Animals Wants End to West Virginia's "Youth in the Outdoors" Program

In September Friends of Animals called on West Virginia Governor Bob Wise to put an end to that state’s “Youth in the Outdoors” hunting program for children 8-17.

In a press release, FOA president Priscilla Feral said,

At any age, to kill a living, conscious being and call it sport is one of the most troubling ideas modern society has yet to come to grips with.

The FOA press release goes on to say,

Most children have a natural affinity for animals. Urging young people to suppress that feeling, to choose to cause death, and even to associate all of this with a day’s outing, is not sound public policy. It prepares children to engage in violence, while stunting their potential to seek more creative futures.

In a press release from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Wise says of the “Youth in the Outdoors” program (which includes an essay contest),

This is an exciting program because it encourages the contestants to do some research and practice their writing skills, and the winners have the opportunity to learn more about our stateÂ’s wildlife and fish management programs. ItÂ’s also a great chance for them to be exposed to career opportunities they might not see otherwise, and to have some fun at the same time.

According to the DNR,

The essay contest is only one part of the GovernorÂ’s Youth in the Outdoors Program. The WVDNR and several private organizations have created a series of events, including two different youth deer hunts, a youth squirrel hunt, the construction of two new fishing lakes in Kanawha and Logan counties just for youth and physically-challenged anglers, and the ongoing GovernorÂ’s Outdoor Youth Challenge competition which has been held each year during the National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park. This event challenges the participantsÂ’ skills in .22 rifle shooting, bow shooting, clay target shooting, casting, distance estimation, West Virginia fish identification and a written exam on state hunting and fishing laws and safety rules. The Senior Division also includes a muzzleloader shoot. The Junior (10-13) event is held on Saturday and the Senior (14-17) event on Sunday. The challenge has been such a success that it has been expanded from 50 to 100 kids in the two age groups.


FoA urges West Virginia Governor Bob Wise: Give Children a Chance to Reach Their Best Potential. Press Release, Friends of Animals, September 23, 2004.

Governor’s Youth in Outdoors. Press Release, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, 2003.

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