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I started this thread because of several people not caring for the new $2.70 permit fee that mentored youth hunters will have to pay for the 2009-2010 season. The permit can open the door to new opportunity for the youth, allow the PGC to track recruitment and retention rates, survey the youth, send notification of HTE classes in their area, and a variety of other things.

Some are claiming this $2.70 will be a financial hardship to them.

So, I thought about all of the struggles I’ve had over the last 17 years and thought I’d post my thoughts and ask you about your own experiences with similar times, and ask what you would change.

I’m a single Mom. My X and I split up when my daughter was just 10 months old. I couldn’t afford our house on my salary, so I sold it- thankfully before it went into foreclosure, and moved into a tiny apartment. As tiny as it was, a crib mattress and frame fit into the rather large closet, so that became my daughter’s bedroom.

Two years later, I drove back home from Arizona in an old beat up two seat Pontiac Fiero. Things were so tight financially; I had to move in with my parents. I paid them monthly rent for one bedroom, and got a job in Pittsburgh. I thank heavens I had parents who could “take me in” so to speak.

I had a ton of bills from the divorce that he wasn’t paying for, and I didn’t believe in bankruptcy, so I was paying all of them. I couldn’t afford a whole lot, and did little if anything for me, but the two things I did do was buy a fishing and hunting license.

I took my daughter with me to the same lake my grandfather took me when I was a kid. She caught her first fish in the same location I caught mine. We went to the river and to streams and I helped her fish. I got a lot of entertainment value for that money.

My days spent hunting was the only time I had away from work or my daughter. That was ‘me” time. I did take her scouting with me, and while we were out there, we’d flip rocks and look for snakes and salamanders.

I remember one spring she and I were in a spring seep and two fawns were standing there looking at us as if to ask who we were. She thought it was hysterical, and giggled about it for weeks.

When the bills were finally paid, I saved and bought a house. Nothing special, just a tiny little place in the neighborhood I grew up in. It was a block from my parents in a safe neighborhood, and I knew someone would be home if I couldn’t make it back here in time to get her off the bus, or needed a sitter quick.

For $5. a week, I had my daughter in a youth trap league. She didn’t like it at first and wanted to quit. My rule- once you start something, you see it through till the end. She’s a pretty good shot and just last week asked me if she could use the shotgun to shoot some trap with her friends! Value in learning to not give up and gaining new experience? Priceless.

When she turned 12, she asked me if she could get her hunting license. Of course, I quickly said yes, and took her for her HTE class. I took the class with her and got her the license to hunt that year. I also bought her a doe tag.
Off to the woods we went. Her first year, we went to my buddy George’s house and I sat her on a natural bench where there was a thick deer trail just below. It’s out near Mingo park, and there are plenty of deer there. She had several deer come in and she kept telling me she couldn’t see them through the scope.

She didn’t shoot a deer that year, and that was OK. Later she told me she didn’t have the heart to shoot one.

The next year, she asked me to go again. We had a discussion about the price of things. $6. doesn’t seem like a lot of money to some people, but it was to me. I’d buy her a regular hunting license, but I wasn’t buying her a doe tag unless she would harvest one, and I needed that commitment from her. She promised me she would harvest either a doe or a buck.

It was teaching her the value of the dollar more than anything else. Neither of us had our own hunting clothes. They were borrowed or hand me downs. I couldn’t afford new, not with a mortgage and car payment, and everything else. Neither of us cared. It was more about spending time together and learning about the natural world.

This time, we went to my buddy Harry’s house. I put her in the stand I call the Hilton. It was the Hilton in its day too! Cedar shake siding, a shingled roof, lots of space and seating. A heater and a grill were inside.



The cost of a hunting license for a kid? Priceless.

It wasn’t just my daughter who benefited from my licenses back in the day. I took my nieces fishing with me too.



Cost of a fishing license? Just as priceless.

Times have changed. I have 4 house payments left. 2 seasons ago, I splurged and bought hunting clothes and boots for myself that fit. I also bought a 243 youth rifle that I loan to mentored youth. Two youth have harvested deer with it.

The value of that? Also priceless.

I still make sacrifices and sometimes struggle to make ends meet. Don’t we all? Unexpected things happen. We need a new roof, or whatever. But you can’t put a price tag on getting a kid involved in the outdoors in one way shape or form. If more people put time into their kids instead of allowing the video game to baby sit, perhaps we wouldn’t have the trouble we have today.

To me at least, it’s priceless.

If there is any member on this board or if you know someone that can't swing the $2.70 to get a youth involved in hunting, please send me a PM. I'll take care of their permit fees for them. I'll even go so far as to buy the adult their general license- but they better not light up a cigarette or have beer cans in their car.

We all make sacrifices for things- our kids should be our first priority.
 

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great post sounds like you and your daughter had great times together and alot of memories. I'm sure if she hasn't already she'll thank you, and I wish there were more PA hunters that cared as much as you, not bashing anyone, heck I could do more!
 

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Very cool to see you take the reigns and make something happen for you and your girl. A lot of people would have folded their cards and taken a different route (Filing, etc.)!
 

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Great post. Sometimes the lean times in life can lead to some of your most fond memories later in life. It's not that it isn't fun to have money, it's just that when you don't have much life becomes simpler and you get more grounded in the things that actually matter, like family.
 

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I hear a lot of people complain about the costs associated with hunting or fishing. Mostly it's lisence fees. Yet these same people waste more money a day on needless things.

I remember a few years ago I was having a couple beers at a local bar. The guy beside me was talking to his buddy complaining about the cost of a hunting lisence, and wasn't sure if he could afford one. I thought to myself, you just spent $40 at the bar while smoking $4 a pack cigarettes, and you cann't fork out the cash for a hunting lisence?

As far as the the $2.70 goes, I don't see it being a burden on anybody. If it is, you have your finances way too tight.

As much as I hate to say it, I think many times these people that complain about the cost are trying to find an excuse not to involve their children, and to spend time alone.
 

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Fantastic Post. I could read it every day, great way with words. I will second your offer, if anyone can't afford the mentor license, I will also pitch in to help them, just PM me, but they better be nonsmoker/nondrinker. Not that I have an issue with those who smoke/drink, it's just that if they have the money for that, then they better have money for their child, who should ALWAYS come first.
Again, can't say it enough, GREAT POST
 

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campinfamily said:
The way I see it the $2.70 is a very small investment in the future of our sport.
I feel the same way.
Great post Gal.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wrote the post and had tears in my eyes.

So many things my daughter wanted that I just couldn't give her; video game systems, whatever.

Heck, in that picture of her with her first deer, she had on my cammo pants from when I was in the Marines, tennis shoes, my T-shirt, and a borrowed gun, vest, and hat.

My X boyfriend (who never had children of his own and was there that day) gave her that gun after she shot the deer with it. (Thanks Kev!)

She never had everything she ever wanted, when she did get something, it wasn’t necessarily new. She did have everything she needed though. There is a big difference.

Several of you know her, and I am one proud mother!

Sara is a senior in high school, freshman biology major at the University, and works two jobs. She is an honors student, and is taking a 300 level, 4 credit Ecology class at the University right now. She wants to be a medical doctor.

She helps me teach entomology, and though we have our "moments", she gets the bigger picture in life.

A couple of months ago she was laid off from her one job, and asked me for a little more money than I feel I can swing right now. My goal; and I will get there; is to pay off this house before she enrolls full time in college. That way I can help her on a regular basis and she can concentrate more on her studies.

I pulled out all of the bills, showed her what I was doing, and how close WE are to that goal, and she said, "Mom, I'll find another job and work for it."

She gave me a kiss on the cheek and thanked me.

She doesn't do without much at all now, but she does realize things are not out of reach. Everything is possible and IF you want it bad enough, you'll work for it.

Do I feel bad that I couldn't give her everything she wanted? A little; but as I see her grow into the woman that she is becoming, I realize more and more each day I did what was right for us.

Hunting and fishing were a huge part of that, and if I could do it all over again, I don’t think I’d change a thing. I know I wouldn't.
 

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Great post Kathy. There is the big difference between your daughter and so many of the kids today.
She didn’t spend 8 hrs a day on the computer and want to be texting her friends all day long. She wanted to hunt and fish and made the time to do it, not expect someone to fit hunting and fishing into her schedule. I know with my youngest daughter who is 18, if her cell phone does not have service she would have a panic attack.
Its all about priorities and many of the kids who are not getting involved in hunting DO NOT have an interest to hunt, no matter how much Dad/Mom wants it to happen.
Money and not being able to hunt 7 days a week are a smoke screen.
I agree, anyone that can not afford 2.70 a license should be able to get someone from here to sponsor them.
 

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great time together my daughter hunted with me when she was 12 shot a doe in early season then in buck season we a had a 8 pt standing about 40 yards from us she said she couldn't get it in the scope later that night she said she couldn't shoot it lol well she quit hunting for now hope she will start some day i didnt have a rifle with me so another guy above us got the buck nice rack on it
 
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