"Featherfest" Introduces Youth to Game Bird Hunting

“I never shot a shotgun, and I never shot a clay target,” confirmed 10 year old Neveah Widener But she soon found herself doing both before heading to the designated hunting areas where guides and dogs awaited to take youth age 10-18 hunting for game birds. The event hosted by Young Outdoorsmen United gave 30 youth the opportunity to experience dogs searching and pointing their quarry, witnessing flushing quail, pheasants, and chucker, plus test their wing-shooting skills. When Widener returned from her hunt she was carrying a bobwhite quail, and a roster pheasant. “I did it, I shot some birds” she loudly exclaimed with a beaming smile. “That was so much fun.” The event for 30 youth, who were selected thru a random drawing by submitting an application to participate, were scheduled in pairs during 3 simultaneous hunts scheduled in 1 ½ intervals. Each youth took practice at shooting clay targets to prepare themselves for the hunt. The 15 planned hunts resulted in a mixture of 118 game birds harvested. That’s pretty impressive for the novice hunters as over 85% had never hunted any type of game bird. It is noted that 13 had no experience shooting a shotgun, and 8 were girls. Andrew Watkins age 10, another first time hunter, bagged a single quail and was enormously pleased with his triumph. “This is what I’m having for dinner,” Watkins stated as he held on to his trophy. Several of the youth reported how they dined on their harvest, and that the “dish” was very tasty. The self-provided meals were just another benefit of day’s activities. Featherfest was not only successful by measurement of harvest numbers, but rather in smiles, high-fives, and memories. The atmosphere was energized and exciting at the day-long event. The impassioned enthusiasm generated was summed up when 11 year old Cole Martin from Anderson asked wholeheartedly, “When is the next one?”