Youth Gun For Pheasants
Inside the Outdoors, October 08, 2010

It’s that time of the year again when youth will depend on their quickness and skills to harvest pheasants escaping from their midst.

Twenty-four organizations have signed up this year and will share approximately 75 birds each provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The date has been set from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16

According to PGC Executive Director Carol G. Roe, “While the agency’s financial situation remains a concern, providing pheasants to clubs sponsoring junior pheasant hunts is a wise investment. The only two stipulations for clubs to be eligible to receive Game Commission birds are that these hunts must have registration open to the public and must be held on public or private lands enrolled in one of the Game Commission’s Cooperative Public Access Programs.”

I was honored by being invited to attend last year’s event at the Kingston’s Veterans and Sportsmen’s club and will never forget it. I think I must have walked five miles through thick and thin of field cover along side of lads and young ladies, some of whom never experienced holding a gun before least shooting a bird.

Yet there were many active participants who knew what they were doing as years of practice had qualified their marksmanship.

I recently talked to Skip Shawley, president, and he told me the KVS is again hosting its annual youth hunt Oct. 9. He, Kevin Adams, president of Pheasants Forever, Walt Poole, president of KVS Fish and Game, and Jeff Uschak, president of the archery committee have all been working hard to make this a successful event.

He was happy to announce that he got quite a bit of backing for the hunt. Backing the youth hunt are KVS’s fish and game and archery committees, Miller Run Conservation Society and Laurel Highlands Chapter of Pheasants Forever.

“This year we have openings for 40 youth hunters,” he revealed. That’s great, because there will be some real competition. “Mentors with be available to escort groups of kids at a time. “As always, help will be needed with all activities that day,” he passed on.

Available will be food, beverages, a raffle, archery and 3D target shooting.

Each pheasant will be carefully placed in the field among grasses by one of the Club’s members so they would be out of sight. This is done before the youth arrive. When the hunters get to a certain location, some pheasants will try to fly to safety. Youth will then have to raise their guns, zero in on the bird and pull the trigger. It may sound easy, but it isn’t. Guns have recoil action, and they tend to throw the gun to directions off target. Many times there are misses and the bird escapes, but then there are others where the pheasants meet their demise.

“The state’s long standing two-pheasant daily bag limit will apply to junior hunters participating,” the PGC stated. “In addition, juniors will be required to comply with restrictions on hunting male or female pheasants.”

According to the rules, eligible juniors must be between 12 to 16 years old, and have successfully completed a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course. There is no requirement that participating juniors purchase a license, but they must wear the necessary orange and be accompanied by a parent.

Roe emphasized that the junior pheasant hunt is not part of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program for those hunters under the age of 12, which does include groundhog, squirrel, coyotes, spring gobbler and antler deer.

In other news, I was just informed that the Forbes Trail Chapter of Trout Unlimited was the recipient of a $250 grant from Prudential as a part of the Prudential CARES Grant Program. Prudential awarded over $400,000 to community projects to which their employees/retirees volunteer their time and efforts. FTTU member Ralph Koscianski applied for and won the grant for the chapter, which will be put toward the limestone-dosing project on Rock Run.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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