Five young hunters were selected from a draw of over 20 applicants for the first annual Youth Doe Hunt held Jan. 2nd 2009.† All five young hunters were successful in the harvest of a doe.†† Kansas Wildlife & parks employees Jared Eatmon, Alan Midcap, Rob Riggin, James Svaty & David Jenkins assisted the young hunters in their hunting areas along with a parent of each youth.†

The day begin with lunch at Claythorne.† David Jenkins and Rob Riggin then spoke to the hunters on safety and the rules of the hunt.† The group then adjourned to the shooting range to sight in their guns.† Each of the hunters then went to the a designated area provided by Claythorne Lodge, Sam and Frieda Lancaster, Hugh Sosebee, Sam Dismuke and John Parsons.† Other sponsors of the event were Johnís Sports Center of Pittsbsurg.

Special thanks goes to Claythorne Lodge for providing the meals, the shooting range and for organizing the shooting areas.† What a great experience for the youth and their parents to be in a Hunting Lodge environment.†

Trophy Whitetail Deer has become a business to most of the rural United States taking advantage of one of our best Natural Resources.† It is important to our area and the State of Kansas to figure out how we can assist these landowners with management of the overall deer herd.

Youth hunts are a great tool to manage the deer herd.† Young hunters have the opportunity to harvest a doe and right now there are plenty of does. Chances of a successful harvest are encouraging to the young hunters.† Removal of some of the excess doe population helps the herd, the farmers and the landowners.†

Teaching the youth the benefits of good landowner relationships is vital.† They quickly learn that respectful use of the land may lead to other outdoor opportunities such as squirrel hunting, fishing and trapping.†† Trophy deer hunting is a reality here in Kansas.† The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, property owners and hunters must work together to preserve our outdoor heritage for future generations.† Understanding the relationship of the wildlife and the capacity of the land is but one part of that equation.† The relationships among all these groups are important and will define how we are viewed by the non-hunter.†

It is hoped that this program can be expanded next year to include more property owners and hunting lodges so that more youth will have the same experience as these 5 youth.