The future of hunting: Whitehorse children take part in a workshop | Catch My Job


Some children in Whitehorse spent the evening learning about gun safety, traditional territories and how to survive in the woods while hunting.

The Youth Hunter Education Course gave 10- to 16-year-olds a chance to learn basic hunting skills, and for some to reinforce what they already know.

“My dad used to take me hunting not too long ago,” Dylan Hodinksi said. “We got a moose and it was really fun. I like it because you have to be patient.”

The 12-year-old boy said he was ready to go on bigger hunts. But first, he added, he must recover.

The three-hour course brought about 20 kids to Yukon University for an evening with hunter educator Jim Welsh. It was the second time that children were able to attend the workshop since its creation about two years ago.

Welsh, who works with Environment Yukon, said in a recent interview that he is on a mission to change hunting’s bad reputation.

“It’s an opportunity to come to the land, to get organic food,” Welsh said of the hunt. “For me, I go with my kids all the time. I always connect with my family, we kind of do the hard things together, which really helps us get through other things in life.”

“I really just want hunters to get out there, tell good stories about hunting and what it means to them to be on the land, and connect with the land.”

He explained that one of the key components of the course is building self-confidence. As they learn how to be a responsible and ethical hunter, prepare for nature and identify wildlife, children inevitably discover courage and self-confidence, Welsh said.

“Just recently I was at a school show, a kid just got his first animal,” Welsh said.

“He came and told the whole class about it.” And then they made a plan to introduce some and feed everyone in the department. It was so nice to see that kid kind of light up. It struck me how much that can do for a kid and kind of build their confidence.”

Children learn to recognize First Nations territories and special area restrictions in the Yukon during a hunting workshop in Whitehorse on Oct. 18. (Virginie Ann/CBC News)

The youth hunter course is one of the first steps towards obtaining a hunting license. In the Yukon, children must be at least 12 years old to hold a big game license.

For Whitehorse resident Tim Taylor, the course was about making burrow hunting accessible to his daughter.

“She’s kind of at that age where she appreciates and respects hunting, but she doesn’t want to hunt,” Taylor said.

Although hunting is an integral part of the lifestyle of most Yukoners, Welsh said he notices that people who have moved to the territory lack mentors, “the traditional things that hunting would have like going with parents, grandparents.”

“I hope this has set the kids on a new path,” Welsh said.

“I want the next generation to be engaged and be a part of it.”


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