OTISVILLE — The Lapeer Chapter of Pheasants Forever took advantage of a cold, snowy day to teach another group of youngsters from the Salvation Army Youth Group all about pheasant hunting, how to clean the birds, and the safety rules for gamebird hunting last Saturday.
Lapeer County Pheasants Forever held its winter 2011 Youth Hunt at Game Bird Farms in Otisville last Saturday. Ron and Diane Gutchac again were gracious hosts to 23 kids from Lapeer, Oakland, and Tuscola County. Co-hosts were volunteers from the Lapeer Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
In the twice-a-year hunts that occur in the fall and winter, the kids this time around spent the early part of the day on the obstacle course, which Lapeer County Youth Chairman Dave Lamb set up in the wee hours of the morning. The kids had the opportunity to safely and responsibly cross fences with their shotguns and received feedback from mentors on how closely to proper techniques they followed. They also learned to identify subtle rules of the field such as a Frisbee drill that mimicked a pheasant flushing from huntable property, but landing in an area that was posted with No Trespassing signs.
The kids then finished their pre-hunt drills with some clay shooting on the course to get a good feel for their shotguns, while wearing heavy winter clothing with the temperatures hovering around 15 degrees. The group was then split into small groups of three kids and mentors taking to the fields covered in four to six inches of snow. Those conditions would challenge the most veteran of hunters, but not this group.
“These kids impressed us more than probably any group we’ve had,” said Mark Sak President of LCPF. “Not only did they shoot amazingly well for the conditions, they made several nonshots in the right places when the bird was flying too low and the dog was in close pursuit. They were an extremely safe, smart group of great shooters.”
Sak added that this hunt was the second of two fantastic youth hunts the Chapter puts on each year. One hunt is coordinated with The Salvation Army Outdoors Program giving underprivileged kids an opportunity to get their hunter’s safety certificate, and then they go hunt real birds, something Sak added they will never forget. The second hunt in January is to continue to let local kids have opportunities in the field, no matter what their experience level.
Lapeer County Pheasants Forever won the 2010 Pheasants Forever Michigan State Council Youth Mentor award for work with youth programming. The organization uses funds raised from its annual wild game dinner and banquet, which takes place March 5 at the Lapeer County Center Building in Lapeer. For details on the upcoming dinner or LCPF visit www.Lapeercountypf.org.