Hunting Heritage Youth Essay Contest Winner to be Honored at ISE

Media Contacts:
Lt. John Nores, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (408) 591-5174 Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Wildlife Officer Foundation have announced the winner of the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest. Madison Benedict, an 11-year-old hunter from Oroville, will be awarded a lifetime hunting license at the International Sportsmen’s Expo in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015.

Junior hunting license holders or youths under 16 who earned a hunter education certificate in 2014 were eligible to participate in the contest. The entrants explained what “Passing on the Tradition” of hunting means to them in 500 words or less.

“Keeping youth hunters involved in the tradition of hunting is important to the future of conserving California’s natural resources,” said CDFW Lt. John Nores. “Our wildlife officers admire and respect these kids as important stewards of wildlife conservation.”

Madison’s hunting heritage goes back to her great-grandparents. Her essay suggested the creation of a youth organization “specifically for hunters” that could educate the public about the importance of hunting as a conservation tool.

“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!,” she wrote.

The second place winner is Tucker Schall, 8, of Susanville. Two winners tied for third place, Aiden Wilson, 14, of Witherthorn, and Crystal Keller, 16, of Fair Oaks.

The essays were reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives. The essay can be found online in its entirety at

AWARD CEREMONY: Madison, accompanied by her family, will receive the grand prize at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Adventure Theater.

To find information on becoming a Hunter Education Instructor to help “Pass on the Tradition,” please visit