Youth hunt set at Refuge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 1999

St. Catherine Creek Wildlfie Refuge manager Jim Hall is borrowing an idea from a friend that should provide a service for his refuge while also granting 20 area youth the chance to harvest a prized deer.

The first youth hunt will be held at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge Saturday, with 20 already-selected youth being able to hunt a selected area at 5:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The hunt will take place in the Cloverdale area, which will be closed off Saturday.

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&uot;This came about basically because a co-op farmer in the northern unit was having a serious depredation problem on his soybean field,&uot; Hall said. &uot;We were seeing about 150-to-200 deer because this area has been closed for nine years. We heard the habitat had gotten to the point that it needed to be controlled. We were looking for a way to do that and borrowed an idea from the Tensas Refuge where they had a youth hunt and had real good success.&uot;

The young hunters were selected earlier from a random drawing. Hunters will meet at 4:30 a.m. and blinds will be drawn at 4:45 a.m. The first hunt will go from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

&uot;Each hunter will have one parent or guardian and a guide with them,&uot;

&uot;We want the kids to take does at first, but there will be a volunteer with tem if the buck of a lifetime happens to walk up,&uot; Hall said. &uot;It will be left up to the guide to tell them whether they have the option to shoot. We don’t want a kid to pass up on a deer of a lifetime.&uot;

At noon, Mississippi Congressman Ronnie Show will address the youth and adults.

Lunch will be provided by Friends of the St. Catherine Refuge Association.

Mississippi State biologist Dr. Steven Demeris will discuss deer biologist.

The hunters will return to the woods at 3 p.m.

&uot;As far as rules, only youth will be allowed to discharge firearms,&uot; said St. Catherine Wildlife Refuge office assistant Charmain Adams. &uot;State rules apply. Each Mississippi resident is limited to one doe and one buck. Non-residents are not allowed to take a doe four points or greater. And hunter orange must be worn.&uot;

Haas Outdoors will be filming the hunt the entire day.