Introduction

The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More

Friday, April 19, 2013

YOUTH HUNTS ARE A GOOD TIME

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) offers a variety of special hunting opportunities.  Most are in the fall but spring turkey hunts are on the list, too.  Many of them focus on youth hunting opportunities and they're conducted in various parts of the state.

The KDWPT youth turkey hunt at Hutchinson has been going on for a dozen years or so and 10-12 youngsters are treated to a wonderful experience during the special youth season.  Most kids manage to kill a bird over the course of an evening and morning hunt.  If not, there's always tales of narrow misses and what-ifs.

There were 10 kids present for this year's hunt and one youngster and his father came all the way from Denver, Colo., to participate.  Shotguns were patterned and participants were treated to grilled hot dogs, chips, snacks and drinks (courtesy of the Ark River Chapter of Pheasants Forever) before heading afield with their parent or guardian and a volunteer guide.  Each kid walked away with a Cabela's gift card, camo hat, box call and information on hunting wild turkeys.

The evening hunt was a good one and for once the weather cooperated.  About half of the kids managed to kill a turkey the first evening.  Those that didn't were back bright and early the next morning and the weather and morning promised to be a good one.  When all the smoke cleared and the shotgun shells quit flying, eight out of 10 kids had killed at least one bird.  One of the youngsters who didn't get a bird missed several times and the other had too many turkeys in range at once and a good shot (one that wouldn't kill several hens, too) never really materialized. 

However, even an "unsuccessful" turkey hunt is a memorable experience.  Turkeys flying up to roost, non-stop gobbling, turkeys fighting and calling, deer sniffing turkey decoys at only 15 yards and all the other sights and sounds of time spent in the woods is worth the price of admission (although there is no fee to participate in these hunts, other than the required licenses or permits).  Killing a turkey is the ultimate goal but a successful hunt is often about more than the end result.

For many of the participants this is their first
exposure to turkey hunting so everything is new.  A parent or guardian is required to tag along and oftentimes they learn as much or more about the experience than the child.  And even just the time spent together as a father and son or daughter or mother and son or daughter is special.  It's good to slow down, breathe easy and relax in an ever-changing, fast-paced world and just enjoy the moment.  There's no better place to do that than the great outdoors.
   

To find out about special hunting opportunities for species such as waterfowl, deer and turkeys, check out the KDWPT web site at www.ksoutdoors.com

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