Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors took 10 young hunters deer hunting on the Z Bar Ranch this last weekend, as part of the youth deer hunt season that Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism makes available.
This is the 10th year that the great folks on the Z Bar Ranch have hosted Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors hunters on this fantastic property to hunt deer.
All of the young hunters got to see LOTS of deer. All but 2 of them had shot opportunities and 6 of them came home with their tags filled! For all but 2 of the hunters, this was their 1st deer hunting opportunity and there wasn’t one of them who didn’t want to go back out again just as soon as they could!
We took 4 hunters on Saturday and the remaining 6 on Sunday. We had guides and mentors for all of the hunters. A couple of the mentors were not experienced deer hunters and we had guides accompany them on the hunt, giving both the young hunter and their mentor the opportunity to learn more about deer hunting.
I had a call from one of the volunteer guides this morning that I’d like to share with you. He said that when he went to work this morning, he was telling his co-workers about his Sunday hunt. His co-worker, a non-hunter, joked about teaching inner-city kids about guns. Mark took the opportunity to “educate” them about the program. He related how, while preparing for the hunt, he had the opportunity to share with the young hunter how important safe gun handling is, at the range, while traveling to/from the hunt and while in the blind. He told his co-worker about the conversations he had with the young hunter while they shared the blind that afternoon, discussing how hunters have to hone their skills in preparing to hunt, as we did earlier that afternoon shooting at the range. He talked about the patience a hunter must have, waiting for just the right opportunity to safely and humanely harvest the deer. He talked to the young hunter about making good choices and the responsibilities that hunters have to themselves, to the game, to the landowners and to other hunters. All qualities that carry over to everyday life. All qualities that define a good man.
He told his co-worker how today’s youth are not unfamiliar with guns. Many have guns in their homes or they have friends who do, they see them in video games, on the History Channel, in the movies…guns are prevalent in our society. By experiencing them first hand, the young hunters come away with a more respectful attitude towards firearms and how they are to be treated. Mark commented that the young hunter he spent the afternoon with had a much more respectful attitude once he saw and experienced first-hand what happens when a gun is fired. The young hunter had made an excellent shot on a doe that afternoon. When they field-dressed the deer, they found that the round had hit the heart, just as he had been instructed that afternoon. The young hunter saw up close and personal what happens when you shoot something.
Mark let his co-worker know how the young hunter found that the act of pulling the trigger was but a small portion of the hunting experience. The preparation work going into the hunt and the work that goes into preparing the game for the table is all a big part of the hunt as well. That and the stories that get told after the hunt.
Too many boys and girls today will never have the opportunity that the young hunter who spent the afternoon with Mark had. They’ll never know the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that comes with practicing and honing your shooting skills to the degree that you can successfully take a deer with an expertly placed shot. They’ll never know the thrill that comes with taking your first deer.
All of the young hunters we had out this weekend came away knowing that they possessed the skill to shoot straight and hit what they were aiming at (and a couple now understand “Buck Fever” first-hand as well!). And all of the young hunters are eager to go at it again.
You can check out more photos from our hunt on our Facebook page.
As this hunting season progresses, we’ll be taking young hunters pheasant hunting, duck hunting, goose hunting, and deer hunting, enjoying the thrill of the great outdoors. I hope you have plans to take a child out this fall as well.
What we need is more men and women like Mark and the other volunteers who assisted with this weekend’s hunt who will step up and make it happen. We need sportsmen and women who will share their experiences in the outdoors with children, especially children who won’t have that opportunity otherwise. And today, there are too many children who won’t have that opportunity.
We also need your financial support. If you could help us with your donation, we can continue growing the Pass It On - Outdoor Mentors program, giving ever more children opportunities to experience the great outdoors. Please click here to make a donation!
Have a great time outdoors this fall! We will!