A-Hunting They Will Go!
bird. The boys had identical looks of disbelief as she came out of the tall grasses a few minutes later holding a struggling rooster in her mouth.
Another pair of young hunters received praise from instructor Keith DeBow when they correctly identified a hen pheasant and let it fly away without shooting.
Later, a young hunter, Mackenzi, was fretting because she had shot two pheasants in a row, but her friend Mollie hadn’t shot any. As luck would have it, Mackenzi ended up with her limit of pheasants, and Molly also bagged a rooster, the first pheasant she’d ever shot.
In all, the youngsters, helped by chapter volunteers, Conservation Department staff, one aspiring young bird dog and four seasoned, veteran dogs, harvested more than 40 birds during the hunt.
As the sun was going down, everyone gathered around to talk about the thrills of the day. As is usual, most of the talk revolved around the skill of the dogs. Most of the kids either wanted a hunting dog or wanted to train their dog to hunt. I took pleasure in hearing from volunteers and the young hunters that my young dog, Rooster Coggin, had performed admirably. He’s developing into a great hunting dog and will be helping on a lot of youth hunts in the future.
Thanks to conservation partnerships with Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and Quail Unlimited, among many others, young Missourians have numerous opportunities to participate in a youth hunt.
Chapter members, volunteers and Conservation Department staff believe youth hunts help steer kids toward a lifetime appreciation for hunting and shooting and help strengthen family relationships. Their optimism is partly based on comments from youth hunt participants and their families. Paul Shuler of Springfield, for example, recently wrote to the Conservation Department in appreciation for the extraordinary opportunity to attend a youth hunt with his son, Blake, and to say that his normally “very quiet” son couldn’t stop talking about the day on their drive home.
“He’s even been asking lots of questions about how to become a conservation agent,” Shuler wrote.
Mike Brooks, supervisor at the Andy Dalton Shooting Range, told the youngsters during their training, “You are the future of this sport; you’ll build a tradition and share it with your parents.”
Thanks to youth hunts, these kids are well-equipped to keep our hunting traditions alive.
Find a Youth Hunt
To find out about hunts in your area,