LDWF hopes to inspire love of the great outdoors in Louisiana’s youth

Officials want the next generation to enjoy Sportsman’s Paradise

LDWF wants kids to get hooked on the great outdoors

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hunting and fishing are a major part of what many folks love about Louisiana.

But some of the state’s wildlife officials are concerned it may now be as popular with the next generation.

Justin Fritz, of Zachary, is doing one of the things he loves most fishing with his family. He wants his three kids to enjoy the same things he liked to do when he was growing up.

“Being outdoors, hunting and fishing teaches people you know, how to take care of themselves. How to provide for their families. I think that it’s important that the kids have an activity other than staring at a video game.”
Justin Fritz, father of 3, from Zachary, LA

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agree with Fritz, and they’re worried not enough kids get that outdoors experience.

The LDWF celebrated National Hunting and Fishing Day this weekend by hosting a family-friendly free event to teach kids about outdoor skills such as fishing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

LDWF instructors like Mitch Samaha, of Houma, are worried that these skills may actually skip a generation.

“The department (LDWF) realizes that unless we get the youth involved, that conservation will be greatly hampered in the future,” Samaha said.

Officials at the event say that hunting and fishing is about more catching fish or game. It’s about enjoying the outdoors and about the life lessons you can learn.

Archery, for example, is all about focus.

“When you watch that sunrise come up over in the woods or in the marsh. And the same kids who do not want to wake up early to go to school or on the weekend to go on a trip or whatever. You take those same kids and you let them experience one or two of those mornings, and they’ll be up before you are.”
Mitch Samaha, LDWF Hunter Education Instructor, from Houma, LA

The LDWF wants to preserve these activities because it’s important for Louisiana’s culture.

Also, the revenue the state gets from fishing and hunting license sales is one of the biggest contributions to land conservation.

Instructors and volunteers say their biggest hurdle is getting kids in the larger cities to give the outdoors a chance.

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