The local sportsmen, businesses, landowners, our KDWPT employees who organize it and everyone involved roll out the red carpet to make this a tremendously successful event each year. Kids and their parents or mentors were treated to lunch, archery shooting, shotgun instruction and sighting in of rifles when they arrived at the Anthony Gun Club last Saturday afternoon. All kids go away with door prizes and two REAL lucky kids go away with a brand new .243 rifle complete with scope.
|Shiv's first deer!|
The first evening I had a young man, Shiv, whose father had driven 9 hours from Denver, Colorado, to participate in the hunt. The evening was perfect and we had a front row seat from our tower blind where we watched coyotes, sandhill cranes, turkey vultures and a myriad of other wildlife until the first deer showed up. A big doe meandered into the field to our right and Shiv got situated and with one shot dropped it in its tracks at about 125 yards.
"I GOT IT!" he hollered and squealed.
|Shiv and his dad, Som, share a memorable father-son moment|
Indeed he did and he wasn't done. Armed with another tag we watched at least eight bucks and the same number of does before finally getting lined up on another big doe. He got that one, too, and he was all smiles as we shot photos and I showed the 6th grader how to field dress the first one while he did the second one mostly by himself.
The next morning I was in the same blind with another 6th grader named Jaggar. He had some close calls the evening prior but didn't get a deer so he was REALLY hoping he got one this morning. Again, we were treated to another wildlife spectacle with raccoons, quail and six different bucks we watched, the latter off limits due to the antlerless season.
|Jaggar's first deer!|
"Can I shoot?" he asked quickly.
I bleated to get them to stop and when they did I gave Jaggar the green light. One shot from his .243 dropped the big doe in her tracks at about 100 yards.
"I did it!" he exclaimed.
Jaggar was excited admitting his family liked to eat deer meat and his first one would be special to share. He couldn't wait to call his mom and grandma on the cell phone and tell them about his good fortunes as soon as we got in the truck.
|Jaggar and hunt organizer, Kyle McDonald|
In the end, 10 kids shot 14 deer in two hunts. There are other hunts similar to this one and additional special hunting opportunities for kids as well as adults, for a variety of species throughout the year, listed on the KDWPT web site.
Although National Hunting and Fishing Day was observed in late September, I'd like to think it's celebrated each and every time you see a smile on the face of someone that participated in one of these events or others like it. Many are unique and none are more rewarding, for participants or observers, than a youngster's first deer.