A dozen teens braved a rainy Saturday to participate in a Junior Pheasant Hunt sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania chapter of Pheasants Forever.
“We’ve been offering the hunt for nine years,” said Jack Kile, president of the local chapter. “But our numbers are way down this year. There’s so much going on in their lives right now. A few years ago, we had to cut it off at 50 kids, but now we struggle with getting a fraction of that.”
While they used to hold an all-day event which included trap shooting, Kile said “all the kids wanted to do was shoot, so we cut it down to just the pheasant hunt. Besides, if it was a hot day, the dogs were panting by the afternoon hunts, so we cut back.”
The location this year was on state game lands 226 near Millville. Grassy fields with plantings of sorghum and corn provided the backdrop. As a light rain fell, one by one, the eager young hunters dubbed their orange coats and hats, carrying a shotgun at their side. Volunteers brought hunting dogs, and together they teamed off with two youth for the morning’s hunt.
Because the day was wet, the dogs worked hard to make the birds flush. Soon there was gunfire as some of the kids had shooting opportunities.
This was Megan Lynn’s second youth pheasant hunt, and she seemed to have it all together. After all, she had shot her first deer at age 11.
Owen Hilkert, Tyler Brophy and Ben Simcox were newcomers.
This was the first team — a second team would follow later in the morning.
Success reigned for two of the four; Megan didn’t have an opportunity, but she came back covered in weed seeds. There was no doubt that walking through hip-high grass was no easy task, and but she agreed to go again.
Each of the participants were allowed to harvest two cockbirds.
“The game commission provides the birds,” Lynn Appelman explained. “This year we got 24.”
In all, the Central Pennsylvania chapter had 10 volunteers some of whom were dog handlers and the remainder helped with the paper work.
Despite the rain, it was a great day for both teen and parent who shared in the hunting experience.
Across the state, 26 sportsmens clubs held junior pheasant hunts with a total of 1,800 stocked birds. The only stipulation was that the hunt to be held on public or private land which is enrolled in the PGC’s Hunters Access Program. Junior hunters also had to be between the ages of 12-16 and completed a hunter-Trapper Education Course.
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