Claythorne Lodge, KDWP, local landowners provide opportunity for youngsters
OSWEGO -- Five young hunters were drawn from more than 20 applicants for the first Youth Doe Hunt held Jan. 2. All five young hunters successfully harvested an antlerless deer. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees Jared Eatmon, Alan Midcap, Rob Riggin, James Svaty, and David Jenkins assisted the young hunters, along with a parent of each youth.

The day begin with lunch at Claythorne Lodge, where Jenkins and Riggin spoke to the hunters about safety and rules of the hunt. The group then adjourned to the shooting range to sight in their guns. After sighting in, hunters went to designated areas provided by Claythorne Lodge, Sam and Frieda Lancaster, Hugh Sosebee, Sam Dismuke, and John Parsons. John’s Sports Center of Pittsburg was also a sponsor. Claythorne provided meals, the shooting range, and organization of the shooting areas.

Youth hunts -- when only antlerless deer are taken -- provide a great tool to manage the deer herd while giving young hunters the opportunity to experience a hunt. Removing some of the excess doe population helps the herd and farmers. In addition, youth are taught the value of good landowner relationships. They quickly learn that respectful use of the land may lead to other hunting opportunities, as well as the possibility of a place to fish or trap. And understanding the relationship of the wildlife to their habitat is also a part of that equation.

Everyone involved in this hunt hopes that the program can be expanded next year to include more property owners and hunting lodges so that more youth will have the same experience.