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Youth see success during first week of deer hunting season designated for children

NATCHEZ — Youth deer season opened last week, and it was the father/daughter hunting duos that ruled the woods of the Miss-Lou.

Youth hunting week gives young hunters a chance to hit the woods with their guns before the adults have their chance, and at least three young female hunters took advantage of the week and bagged their first deer.

“The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has taken several steps to extend opportunities to remove restrictions on youth to get them in the woods,” Southeast Region Biologist for the MDWFP Justin Thayer said. “We want them to enjoy the woods and harvest a deer.”

MDWFP provides a long, liberal youth hunting season, Thayer said, along with other lenient regulations for youth hunters.

“The youth are our future hunters, and we have to get kids in the woods” Thayer said. “We hope to try to get adults to think about that, and get kids in the woods.”

Thayer said small game seasons are another good option for young hunters

Josie Richardson

Twelve-year-old Josie Richardson’s father, Joseph, taught her to hunt years ago, but it wasn’t until Nov. 3 that Josie got the opportunity to pull the trigger and bring down her first doe.

“When I killed it, I was all shaky, and I didn’t know if I killed it or not,” Josie said. “As I was coming down the ladder (of the stand), my legs were shaking, and I almost fell. It was really cool to get one.”

Josie said she has been hunting with her father several times in the past, and all the lessons he taught her came back when she was shooting her first deer.

The doe was 100 yards away from the box stand where Josie and her father were patiently waiting for a shot.

“My dad had to hold me up for 10 minutes until she turned around, and then I shot her,” he said. “My dad taught me how to hunt, and it’s fun because he gets to tell me what to do.”

Josie and her father tracked the deer, and it took them about 15 minutes to find her. Josie had hit the deer 2 inches below her right shoulder.

The Cathedral sixth grader’s next hunting goal is to get a buck or a hog, she said.

Leeah Corley

Eleven-year old Leeah Corley just enjoys spending time with her father, and Lee Corley enjoys hunting.

Lee taught Leeah how to shoot, and he has been taking her into the woods to hunt with him for five years.

But last week was Leeah’s first time to bring home her own deer.

The two were hunting at St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge, and a 115-pound doe was standing approximately 140 yards away from their stand.

Leeah said it was a pretty difficult shot, and she was glad she was able to make it successfully.

“It felt good,” she said. “I just like spending time with my daddy.”

Lee said he was very proud of his daughter, and he is happy that youth hunters have their own time to go out and hunt without the pressure of adults in the woods as well.

“The main thing is safety and teaching them to enjoy the outdoors, wildlife and what God’s got out here,” Lee said.

Lee said when he started hunting as a boy there were no special regulations for youth hunters, and he thinks it is a good change.

Lee hopes to take his younger sons Drake, 6, and Jaxson 4, hunting with him and Leeah soon, he said.

Isabella Dupré

Eight-year-old Isabella Dupré and her parents no longer live in the Miss-Lou, but that did not stop her and her father, Joel, from taking advantage of youth hunting weekend in Adams County.

Joel is from Vidalia and his wife Dana attended Adams County Christian School, but the family moved to New Orleans.

But Joel decided to bring Isabella back to the Miss-Lou for her first hunting experience, which proved to be successful.

“This was the first year she has gone hunting with me,” Joel said. “She’s dove hunted, but this was the first day ever deer hunting.”

It may have been beginner’s luck, but Isabella bagged a 140-pound, six-point buck on her first attempt.

“Daddy told me to come and try to take the shot and aim right in the middle,” Isabella said.

Isabella hit the deer and the hunters heard it crash down to the ground.

Isabella said she enjoyed the whole experience, except the traditional blood on the face.

“It felt gross,” she said.