Early Saturday morning on Oct. 18, 12 local youths, along with over 20 volunteers, came together for the Pheasants Forever Four Seasons youth mentorship hunt.
Pheasants Forever is a national organization dedicated to maintaining and restoring habitats for pheasants, quail and other wildlife. Four Seasons is the Thayer County chapter.
The youths were selected by the chapter’s youth program chair. According to Randy Hergott, the Four Seasons chapter secretary, they try to pick youths who are not avid hunters or have not had the opportunity to hunt.
“[It was] awesome,” Hergott.. “I think they had a blast. They got to shoot blue rocks.”
The hunts took place on local pieces of land near Gilead and north and west of Hebron.
Each youth was partnered with a mentor for the hunt. A dog and dog handler was also assigned per pair of kids.
During the event, the youths learned about firearm safety, dog handling, landowner respect issues, wildlife habitat, trapping, outdoor survival, firearm cleaning and shooting instruction.
Overall, the organization felt the event was a success.
“Three of the youths even came back with pheasants,” said Hergott.
Pheasants Forever uses events such as this to create public awareness of local habitats.
“We had a lot of really significant donations this year,” said Hergott. “Most of it will go toward habitat programs in the county.”
Four Seasons will also host a banquet on Oct. 24 at the Thayer County Fairgrounds.
Back: Grace Soverdyke, Keith Hergott, Hutch Finke, Glen Meyer and Dalton Williams. Front: Reata Elting, Cade Friedley, Lane Barton (kneeling), Alfonzo PeneLopez and Corin Powell. Not pictured: Destiny Poisel and Alanna Fangmeier.