Saturday, September 10, 2016

Annual Youth Pheasant Hunt Is A Blast For Everyone

My shooting and release club will hold its annual Youth Day next Saturday. Boys and girls who have completed a hunter safety course are eligible to attend the 9-to-5 program that contains hour-long sessions in, among other things, skeet shooting, game laws and ethics, archery, turkey calling, dog training, and more. Then there is the very popular session where the kids have two pheasants — a rooster and a hen — planted for them so they can hunt them over a member’s “guide dog.” The idea is to recognize and therefore not shoot at the hen. This isn’t only educational, but also offers an opportunity to praise a kid for not shooting: what a good idea!

About 15 years ago, my AWS “Bean” was invited to be a guide dog; and as he didn’t drive, I was invited as well. It has each and every time been an unmitigated, if you’ll forgive the term, blast. The kids are receptive to coaching and extremely safety conscious; more so, for sure, than some adults I’ve introduced to bird hunting. It’s true that I happily donate a bit of my time so that the kids can have a great time outdoors. It’s probably more accurate to quip that the kids put in their time so that I can have a fabulous time working with them outdoors. They’ve all been polite, appreciative, safe, and eager to learn. Ditto the parents, relatives, and friends who’ve registered the kids and who accompany them on their assorted rounds. I relish my chance to work with all of them every year. I can’t wait for next week!

Here's some smiles from over the years.

These two, however, are my all-time favorites:

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