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Old October 8, 2000, 12:00 PM   #1
bergie
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Join Date: April 19, 1999
Posts: 567
On Sat. (10/14) my local chapter of Pheasants Forever (Logan Creek, in Nebraska) will be holding our second Youth/Mentor Hunt in cooperation with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Last years event went very well, and we hope things run as smoothly this year. The event is supposed to be set up for youth that otherwise would have limited chances of hunting, such as those living with single moms, non-hunting families, etc., you know, kids that have an interest, but nobody to help them develop it. Looks like we again will have about 20 kids.
The only real requirement is that the kids must have passed the NE Hunter Safety course (by regulations of G&P), we will even supply the shotguns for them to use if they need one.
The event will start off at the local Isaac Walton League clubhouse with donuts and coffee/hot chocolate and introductions, splitting up into small groups, pairing kids with a mentor, etc. Then we will give the short presentations on wildlife habitat (by a G&P rep), gun care, dog care, communicating with landowners - asking permission, and a couple of other topics, always emphasizing safety. The kids will rotate through these in small groups and then be allowed to shoot some blue rocks with the either the gun they bring (after an inspection by one of us) or use one of the 5 youth model 20 g. 870s that we purchased last year. During this time we will give the kids any help, shooting tips we can and try to help them break a few rocks.
After the informal trap shoot we split up into pairs of youth/mentor and head for the field to join up with the dog handlers. In the field at any one time there will be 2 kids and their mentors, and 2 dogs and handlers. There will be birds provided by G&P, and planted by one of their guys and PF members just shortly before each group. (The land were the hunt is taking place is a 1/4 section farm owned by an old bachelor, on his death it will go to G&P and has for the last several years been pretty much under control of our chapter. It has had the habitat developed with various types of cover - tall grass, windbreaks, foodplots, etc. and does have a high population of wild birds, we just want to increase the odds of some of the kids getting a bird.) We will rotate 8 dogs through the different fields, (using only shorthairs and other pointing breeds rather than flushers to try and keep more control of the situations and hopefully get the kids into shooting positions, emphasizing safety and awareness.)
After the hunt, we will have (hopefully) a short presentation on game prep/care and then lunch.
The following weekend, the youth only pheasant season opens, and hopefully some of our members will get with some of the kids and take them out again as this may be one of the few times the kids get the chance, not to mention one of the few times that we get the chance to make a difference in a kids life, countering all of the b.s. spewed forth by the media on the evils of guns, the cruelty of hunting and all of the other garbage the various anti groups are putting out.
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Old October 8, 2000, 07:01 PM   #2
jbgood
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Join Date: March 22, 2000
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My hat is off to you, your fellow club members, and the staff from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission! Congratulations and thanks for supporting these youngsters in developing the wholesome habits that will help them throughout their lives. With all of the potentially harmful temptations in the world today, it is good to know that kids are being offered alternative ways to have fun and feel good about themselves. Keep up the good work!
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Old October 10, 2000, 02:39 AM   #3
Field-dressed
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Join Date: August 21, 2000
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What jb said! We need to recruit the next generation of hunters one kid at time. Great job!
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Old October 15, 2000, 10:47 AM   #4
bergie
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Join Date: April 19, 1999
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Well, yesterday was a pretty good day. Everything went pretty smoothly, even the weather cooperated. We had eighteen kids show up, and enough volunteers to keep things running on schedule. I spent quite a bit of time with a couple of boys that I think will now be hooked on hunting. The first kid was eleven, his dad doesn't hunt much. They do have a couple of guns, an old 20 and an old .410, and he has let them shoot some, but he just isn't a hunter, maybe once or twice a year he will go out for a little bit, but I think that now the kid (and his brother who was also there) will start to put some pressure on him to get involved. After a few tips at the blue rock shooting he broke a few and was then ready to go after birds. There were 6 birds for each pair of kids furnished by the state G&P (it was easy to tell the difference between the pen raised birds and wild ones because the planted birds didn't have much for tail feathers) and in our first pass down the field we kicked up 5 of them. Most came up at hard angles, a couple even came right back over the line and were called "don't shoot" as safety was really emphasized. We were hunting behind a pair of dogs owned by PF members, an English Setter and a Shorthair. That worked really well, they held the points to allow us to position and prepare the kids. We had 8 dogs to use in the different fields so the dogs were hunted with a pair of boys and their mentors and then rested and taken to a different field. The boy I was with dropped one rooster on the second point and had such a big grin the rest of the morning that you couldn't help but smile when you looked at him. He did get another one on the way back, this time it was a wild bird that took off fast and low trying to drop over the hilltop we were coming up on. Sam made an excellent shot at about 40 yds and the bird folded instantly.
The second kid that I got to spend some time with was a little older, thirteen. His dad is a truck driver who is gone most of the time, so they don't have many chances to hunt. His grandpa bought him a single shot 12 gauge, and taught him to shoot it (taught him well - this kid dropped 3 roosters with 3 shots) but he is in his 70's and not really in that great of shape to be taking a teenage boy out hunting all day so this kid could become a nonhunter a lot easier than a hunter.
Most of the other kids had much the same story, they want to hunt but don't really have the chances that a lot of us had. Parents that are too busy trying to make a living, not really interested in hunting (but not opposed), a couple kids lived with a single mom so dad wasn't around to teach them, etc.
It was a great day for the kids, and for our club. You guys really ought to get involved in something like this if there is something in your area, if there isn't, then start something!! It was quite a bit of work getting everything organized and set up but well worth it. It is not just any day that I will crawl out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and drive 30 miles to watch somebody else shoot pheasants when I'm not even allowed to carry a gun in the field.
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Old October 16, 2000, 04:46 PM   #5
Halffast
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Join Date: February 22, 2000
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Bergie,

Kudos to you and your group. The good you have done for the future of hunting can not be bought with any amount of money donated to any organization. You have my upmost respect.

David

------------------
If your looking to government for the solution, you obviously don't understand the problem.
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