October 20, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
Held again at Rocky Bay Kennel and Hunt Club near Pine City, the event drew 33 eager youth ages 12 to 15 who had their gun safety certificates.
The annual event again featured a strongly worded gun safety talk before the hunt, a 25-shot round of sporting clays target shooting, a hunt for pheasants with a guide and trained pointing dog, free shotgun shells, lunch and a Youth Pheasants Forever Membership.
"Kids, especially the younger ones who may never have shot clay targets or done very little of it, appreciate getting shooting tips from a mentor," noted Reid Masloski, who mentored at one of the shooting stations. "They get excited when, after getting a little help, they start smashing some of the targets. Some of the older ones already shoot pretty well. The kids were polite and seemed appreciative."
The really big draw for kids, however, is the chance to actually hunt pheasants. "Some of these kids may never have seen a pheasant flush," said Jon Olson, event chairman. "If a rooster blasts out of the cover cackling, those kids gawk in wide-eyed wonder and hopefully recover to get off a shot. If they bag a bird,
they're on cloud nine. If not, they're still excited. It's a great way to get youngsters excited about the outdoors."
Improving habitat for pheasants and other wildlife is always the top priority for Pheasants Forever, said Tim Kane, chapter president, but introducing the next generation of youth to carry on the hunting and conservation legacy is another major priority of the national PF organization. In fact, they have a program called "No Child Left Inside," which is aimed at getting youth outside instead of sitting on a couch and playing computer games and videos.
PF chapter members who helped put on the youth hunt included Jon Olson, Tim Kane, Reed Masloski, Aaron Otte, Steve Zirkle, Chris Meyer, Jeff and Mike Egelkraut, Syl Marking and Jim Jorgenson, who also supplied the lunch.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.