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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Getting Cherokee County youth outdoors and unplugged

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pheasants Forever focuses on youth programs

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While habitat, safety, and conservation education has been very important to the Cherokee County Pheasants Forever Youth Programs, so has the goal to get more youth outdoors and unplugged.

Most adults can remember hunting, fishing, exploring the woods, or just playing outdoors. With all the electronics out there, many kids do not experience this and can be found indoors. Pheasants Forever youth programs have activities throughout the year to promote youth getting outdoors.

During the Fall/Winter season, local youth attended the mentor hunt hosted by the Cherokee PF Chapter. They got a chance to get outdoors while learning safety and respect for the land as they hunted. All attendees of the hunt practiced gun safety while shooting sporting clays with equipment provided by Dave Brown and Fireice Firearms.

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Cherokee County Pheasants Forever -- Youth Mentor Hunt 2011
The youth went out in hunting groups with experienced mentors. When they returned, they were shown how to clean their game with help from Gayle Scott. All those in attendance received lunch and Pheasants Forever gear. The hunt is free to all youth and funded by Cherokee County Pheasants Forever youth programs. The day was a complete success thanks to the donations of Hyvee, Fareway, and the Chesterman Co.

Nearly 50 youth attended the annual youth shoot. Sharpshooters from ages 12 to 18 were in participation. Shooting stations included skeet, sporting clays, and five stand. Awards were given from 1st through 4th in two age divisions.

Awarded for the 16-18 year olds were: 1st place -- Brady Pingel, 2nd place -- John Hoeffling, 3rd place -- Zach Bennigsdorf, and 4th place -- Mike Wetherell. Awarded for the 12-15 year olds were: 1st place -- Caleb Claycamp, 2nd place -- Tyler Smith, 3rd place -- Isaiah Petersen, and 4th place -- Jacob Huseman.

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Brady Pingel was the overall winner and recipient of the traveling trophy. He was also the first place winner in the 16-18 year old group.
A special award is given each year to the sportsperson who shows the most sportsmanship and positive attitude. This year's sportsmanship winner was Sydney Hilsabeck. The traveling trophy awarded for overall highest score went to Brady Pingel. Each participant was entered into a drawing for shotguns and other prizes. Winners of this year's guns were: Jacob Kindwall, Kortney Johnson, and Nick Bennigsdorf.

Lunch was provided by Hyvee, Fareway, the Chesterman Co., and Tyson Foods. This yearly event would not be possible without the generosity of Jim Steffen and Celia Luther of Hidden Acres Skeet Range.

In a continued effort to keep youth having fun outdoors, Pheasants Forever annually sponsors DNR outdoor camps for boys and girls. The Hunting and Conservation Camps are three-day camps for boys ages 12-15. Included activities are: wildlife conservation, dog training and selection, rifle and shotgun shooting, pheasant and waterfowl hunting, muzzleloading, archery, furharvesting, gun cleaning, turkey hunting, and game care and handling.

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Age 12-15 year old trophy winners -- Isaiah Petersen (3rd), Caleb Claycamp (1st), Tyler Smith (2nd), and Jacob Huseman
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All activities are hands-on and are led by experts in each of the fields. The boy's camps are held at the Springbrook Conservation Education Center. There are two sessions: June 27-29th and July 25-27th.

The Outdoor Journey Camps are three-day camps for girls ages 12-15. Included activities are: survival/camping, canoeing and water safety, muzzleloading, furharvesting, firearm safety, wildlife ID and conservation, hunter responsibility and ethics, archery, game care and preparation, fishing and cleaning, and rifle and shotgun shooting.

All activities are hands-on and are led by experts in each field. There are three sessions with two at Springbrook Conservation Education Center and one at Hickory Hills Park. Springbrook camps are June 20-22nd and August 1-3rd. The Hickory Hills camp is July 10-12th.

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Sydney Hilsabeck took home the sportsmanship trophy. Photo contributed
Registration forms for any of the camps can be obtained at the Cherokee County Pheasants Forever banquet or through the youth programs coordinator, Greg Eaton. Contact Greg at (712) 261-1065 or on Facebook (CherokeeCo PheasantsForever).

The camp spots fill up fast so registration should be done early. The Cherokee County Pheasants Forever Banquet is on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Along with the dinner, auction, and raffles, there will also be activities for the youth as well as information on upcoming youth events.

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Shotgun winners: Jacob Kindwall, Nick Bennigsdorf, and Kortney Johnson.



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