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3rd Annual Michigan Youth Hunt Program

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3rd Annual Michigan Youth Hunt Program

Old 09-28-2008, 08:21 AM
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Pictures coming soon

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Old 10-05-2008, 07:56 AM
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New to the hunt

Darren WarnerFor the Enquirer • October 5, 2008


The woods were alive last weekend with sounds of crackling leaves underfoot, backs being patted and laughter.Another sound rang out for the first time in many areas of the state: the sound of gunfire.

Sept. 27-28 marked the eighth year of the Michigan Youth Hunt, which gives those 12-16 years old an opportunity to harvest a whitetail before the major deer hunting seasons open.

"It's a perfect time of year to take children afield and to have an opportunity to cultivate their interest in hunting," said Jeff Kunkel of Hillsdale. "The focus is completely on the kids, and each year we have a great time and create lasting memories, regardless of whether or not anyone bags a deer."

Veronica Hetke of Tekonsha was one of the youngsters Kunkel and his hunting partners took out on opening day of the Youth Hunt. Also sitting with them was Hetke's 10-year-old brother, Tanner, who came along to observe the hunt. All of them saw plenty of action as Hetke harvested her first deer, a doe.

"Just like every other first-year hunter who takes a deer, it was a dream come true for me," said Veronica Hetke.

Veronica and Tanner's father, Erich Hetke, was unable to participate in the hunt because he is a member of the Army Reserves currently serving in Iraq.
"Our dad comes home right before Thanksgiving," added Veronica. "But I can send him pictures of my first deer. I know he will be so proud of me."

Fourteen-year-old David Rutkowski of Hamtramck, who also hunted with the group in Lee Township, shares Hetke's enthusiasm. Although he didn't bag a deer, he remained positive and demonstrated solid hunting practices throughout the weekend.
"As we made our way to the stand, David looked at me and said, 'Dad, we're walking too fast - the deer might hear us!'" recounts his father Ted Rutkowski.

"By walking slower and more quietly, we managed to sneak up on a doe. Even though it was too dark to shoot, David experienced part of what it takes to be a successful hunter," added Rutkowski.

The season was the impetus for the formation of the Michigan Youth Hunt Program (www.michiganyouthhuntprogram.com), a grassroots effort to teach young people ethical hunting practices and promote hunting traditions throughout the state.

"We started the program because we feel it is important to pass on our hunting heritage to the next generation of hunters," said co-founder John Ingersoll of Indian River. "With so much technology out there for kids to experience, they're missing out on what this state has to offer in terms of our wildlife and natural resources."

The goal of the program is to have at least one hunter from every county in Michigan participating in the Youth Hunt. Eligible participants needed to have never taken a deer and were asked to write an essay, explaining why they wanted to go deer hunting.

One program participant was Dakota Stebbins of Interlochen. He and his father Terry Stebbins hunted with Ingersoll.

"Early in the morning, a buck came out about 150 yards away," explained Dakota Stebbins. "I was shaking so badly that I had trouble steadying my rifle. But Mr. Ingersoll helped me and I made a good shot."

Stebbins' reward was a nice 8-pointer.

"For me, the best thing about the Michigan Youth Hunt is just seeing the smile on their faces when they get out there and begin to learn what hunting's all about," said Ingersoll.



Dakota and Terry Stebbins of Interlochen show off their buck from the Michigan Youth Hunt last weekend.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimates that more than 30,000 juveniles, supervised by a parent or guardian, participated in the hunt.

It's too early to know how many youngsters were successful and harvested a deer during the 2008 hunt. In 2007, young hunters took more than 10,000 deer.

Regardless of whether or not they came home with a buck or doe, all youngsters who participated in the hunt, and the adults that went with them, were successful.

They promoted Michigan's hunting tradition and enjoyed time in the field that will be remembered - long after sounds of gunfire fade away.

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/a...12/1006/SPORTS
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:27 AM
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Default RE: 3rd Annual Michigan Youth Hunt Program

Youth Hunt Contest; Opportunities to Host
This is the eighth year for the youth-only hunt in Michigan, which will be held September 27 and 28, 2008. During the first youth hunt in 2000, an estimated 14,000 youths participated. In 2006, approximately 30,000 youngsters participated in the youth firearm deer season, harvesting over 9,500 deer, which isabout two percent of the total 2006 white-tailed deer harvest.
Youth-only hunts have been established across the U.S. in recent years in response to concerns abo ut the declining trend nationally in licensed hunters. Such hunts are an opportunity to provide beginning hunters with training and mentoring, helping them develop interest, skills and firearm safety awareness.
John Ingersoll and Ernie Brosseau have been active in promoting the Michigan Youth Hunt by gathering sponsors to find private land access and take youth into the woods (along with their parents) for their first hunt, as part of the Michigan Youth Hunt Contest. If your Sportsman's Club, Gun Club or Organization would like to sponsor a youth hunt for the 2008 season or beyond, or if you would like to make a donation to the program send an e-mail to [email protected]
More information can be found on their website at: < www.michiganyouthhuntprogram.com
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:34 AM
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Default RE: 3rd Annual Michigan Youth Hunt Program

John,
Iam sorry i have took so long to send this to you,my dad and i have been checking stands and sets every minute we can to get ready for the rut,

But about my experience with the youth hunt oppertunity i was given this year, I had alot of fun and i was very happy to be able to that with my dad. This was a great oppertunity for me to get a chance to not only hunt on private land but to have a great hunt....It was a great time and we didnt even use a blind that was great! when we where sitting out in that field and it was so hot i was thinking to myself that the deer would never come out and then when we seen those 2 deer across the road i really started to get excited and then my dad said there was one in the field we where hunting in and i started to shake i could feel my heart pounding through my chest, My dad handed me the nocs and told me to look at him cause he thought it was a nice buck well, that was useless cause i was shaking so bad i could'nt even see out of them.Well there is not much more to say except it was a great shot at about 150 yards and he one shot put him down and my dad told me we are going to his taxidermist to have it mounted for our trophy room.....i really understand the addiction of hunting now and i don't see a deer season being missed by me in the near future.

John i would like to thank you again and i would like to tell everyone that has the chance to go on one of these hunts to do it! You won't regret it!

Dakota and Dad, Terry

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