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December 21, 2015Nine special youth deer hunts held on private lands in the Upstate
Private landowners cooperating with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources hosted nine special youth deer hunts in the Upstate during 2015.
"These hunts would not be possible without the generous hosts who provide these hunting opportunities on their land," said Gerald Moore, wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "Forty-four youth attended these special hunts, and although only one deer was taken this year, all the youngsters had a good time and experienced the fun, thrills and challenges associated with of the sport of deer hunting."
For more information on DNR youth deer hunts, call the Union DNR office at (864) 427-5140.
These special Upstate youth deer hunts were conducted in Cherokee, Laurens, Spartanburg and Union counties, and there was no cost to attend these special hunts. The hosts accommodating youth deer hunters on their properties during 2015 were:
- David Benton, Broken Arrow Hunt Club, Cherokee County
- Chip Brownlee, Brownlee Farm, Laurens County
- Steve Johnson, Johnson Farm, Laurens County
- Chris Grant, The Clinton House Plantation, Laurens County
- Rusty Norris, Horseshoe Falls Hunt Club, Spartanburg County
- Bryan Yelton, Yelton Farm, Spartanburg County
- Steve Koskela, Laura Lyn Farm, Union County
- Bob Jeter, Chufa Ridge Farm, Union County
- Terry Shockley, Trophy Buck Hunt Club, Union County
All the youth hunts were conducted on Saturday afternoons. Youth attending these hunts must be 17 years of age or under and must be accompanied by an adult. Young hunters are selected for these hunts because they generally have no one to take them hunting or because of their limited hunting experience.
ATDO Ministries provided a brief devotion and a barbecue lunch at each hunt. Firearms safety, deer biology, sportsmanship and ethics are discussed prior to going to the rifle range where each youngster shoots their firearm. Youngsters get into their deer stand with their parent or whoever brings them to the hunt by mid-afternoon, and they hunt until dark. Most of the youth who take a deer at these hunts indicate that it was their first deer.
"In the South and most rural regions of our country, hunting is a long, established tradition and it’s difficult for many of those people to imagine that hunting could ever end," Moore said. "However, today only about 5 percent of the nation’s population buys a hunting license. Hunters as a group are a very small minority, and fewer young people are getting into hunting each year. Many youth who grow up in urban areas or in non-hunting families may never have an opportunity to experience the thrill and excitement that hunting can offer.
"As our older generation gets too old to hunt or passes away, today’s youth must be available to take their place," Moore said. "With a trend of declining youth participation over time, sometime in the future hunting could very well die a natural death from lack of interest. If hunting is to survive as we know it now, more non-hunting youngsters need to be exposed to hunting. The goal of these youth deer hunts is to show more youngsters who do not have a hunting connection or have limited hunting opportunities that deer hunting is an exciting, challenging and fun sport. We want to give more youth an opportunity to try hunting and see if it is something they may like and want to pursue. The hosts of these special youth deer hunts are doing their part and are making a meaningful contribution toward helping to ensure the future of our hunting tradition."
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