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February 3, 2009

Youth raccoon hunt is Feb. 14 in Barnwell

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina State Coon Hunters Association and the Salkehatchie Coon Hunters Association will sponsor a youth raccoon hunt near Barnwell on Saturday, Feb. 14. The winners in this event will qualify to participate in the state championship at the Webb Wildlife Center in Hampton County on Feb. 28.

For additional information and applications for the Barnwell youth raccoon hunt, contact Dallas Zorn at (803) 671-2359.

Two age groups will be participating in the youth coon hunt, ages 6 to 13 and ages 14 to 17. Each youth is required to bring a guardian, and there is no application fee. There will be door prizes for all participants. The deadline for the bench show is 4 p.m. and the hunt begins at 6 p.m.

Before the actual competition, participants will attend seminars on sportsmanship, scoring and hunter safety. Contestants are then divided into groups, or "casts," for the evening competition. Efforts are then made to group the participants within each age division with similarly aged contestants to further even out the competition within each cast. Each cast consists of a judge and guide, and three or four youth hunters, each with a dog. Parents are allowed to follow along and observe from a distance, but each youth handles and calls his or her own dog.

In accordance with competition hunt rules, no raccoons are killed during the competition. Winners are determined based on the dog's ability to "strike" a trail and tree a raccoon. The hunt awards points based on the order of striking and treeing and the dog handler's ability to interpret correctly the dog's actions.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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