Madison Benedict was the first-place winner of the 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Hunting Heritage Youth Essay Contest. Entrants 16 and younger were to describe (in 500 words or less) what “passing on the tradition” of hunting means to them. As the winner, Madison was awarded a lifetime hunting license.
My name is Madison Benedict. I’m an eleven year old female hunter born in Oroville, California. I come from a long history of hunters. Great grandfathers, grandfathers, and father. Some of the best hunters being my great great grandmother and great grandmothers. I am the oldest sibling to three sisters. We all love the outdoors.
I believe that we are here today because of hunting.
Our ancestors would have not lived if it wasn’t for some sort of hunting. Hunting wasn’t a sport, it was a means of survival. We the youth will be writing the next chapter of our conservation History. Will it be setting down our guns and picking up our cell phones to get on Facebook or another social media? I hope not!
With 80% of Americans being non-hunters, these numbers aren’t very promising. I believe that passing on the tradition and educating people on conservation is key. Educating people on simple facts like wildlife diseases, overpopulation, etc … Also allowing people to understand that hunters are actually conserving animals by hunting them. Letting them know if we didn’t do that, they would become so infested with disease that they would become extinct. This is just one example but the list is a mile long on why hunting is conservation.
I personally would love to see a youth hunting conservation group started such as 4-H is to the Commercial Livestock Industry. I am also a 4-H member who shows hogs. I believe that 4-H gives youth the opportunity to see the importance of the livestock industry. I would love to see an organization accepted in our schools or a 4-H program that is specifically for hunters. For now, I will continue to carry on the tradition with my family and friends in hope that one day I will be part of a youth organization that can share the truth of hunting conservation and why it is so important.