Refuge hosts youth hunt

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 1999

It was a dark and stormy morning. But for 20 youth at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge at Cloverdale, it was anything but miserable. &uot;This is something they will remember the rest of the lifes,&uot; said Refuge president Jack Cupit. &uot;And I’m enjoying it. Anytime you can do anything for the youth, it’s great. And they are our future conservationists.&uot;

Twelve deer and seven hogs were harvested on the day.

The 20 youth selected to hunt were drawn from a box that had names of youth 8-14 who had bought a permit from the Refugee during the year.

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The hunt was divided into an early morning and afternoon session. Each hunter drew to see what blind they would get on the Cloverdale land, which has not been legally hunted on for nine years.

Each hunter was joined by a parent/guardian and volunteer guide.

The morning hunt was held during a rainstorm, while the sun shone over the evening hunt.

Twelve-year-old Curtis Holder of Natchez harvested the only buck, a 9-point, 160-pounder with a 16-inch spread. He also came away with a 215-pound hog.

&uot;We had just sat down in the afternoon when a nanny walked out and the buck was right behind her,&uot; Holder said. &uot;I clipped a part of his shoulder blade and then went out to finish him off.&uot;

The hog was not as easy.

&uot;We decided to stay there for a bit when a bunch of hogs came out,&uot; Holder said. &uot;I got the first one and when we walked out there it took of. I didn’t shoot any other hogs because they were little bitty. We trailed and trailed the big hog until we found it. My dad (Rodney Holder) was fixing to walk over there and see if it was dead when it jumped up and started chasing him. I climbed up a tree. It finally laid back down and my dad shot him. I didn’t want to because they are so ugly. The whole time we were bringing him in on the four-wheeler I kept turning around to make sure he was still dead.&uot;

All of the young hunters said they had a good time, even if the conditions were not ideal early.

&uot;It was cold and wet and the wind was blowing through the briars,&uot; said 10-year-old Benjamin Peak of Natchez. &uot;I was freezing. But it was fun being out there.&uot;

Peak did not come away with a deer, &uot;but I saw a four point and two hogs, one of which weighed 250 to 300 pounds,&uot; Peak said. &uot;That was the most fun about it.&uot;

Ten-year-old Thomas Ballard harvested a doe almost three hours after setting up at 5 a.m. in the morning.

&uot;She walked up on a ridge about 50 yards away and&160;I thought she ran away, but we found him a little bit aways,&uot; Ballard said.

Ballard was joined by his father Tony Ballard and Rev. Mark Herrington, his volunteer guide.

The deer was the second bagged by Ballard.

&uot;I got one last year when my dad joined a hunting club,&uot; he said.

Ballard said he enjoyed watching the deer walk across the field.

&uot;We also had a hog come real close to our blind,&uot; he said. &uot;He looked

See Hunt, 2B

like he was coming right at us and I was kind of scared. I tried to get him, but he ran away.&uot;

Seven deer and three hogs were harvested in the morning hunt.

Harvesting does were Cassie Coward of Natchez, J.R. Farnum of McComb, Kyle Kelly of Magnolia, Rowdy Rogers of Natchez, Casey Aldridge of Gloster, Glenn Williams of Natchez, Ray Simpson Jr., of Natchez, Jacob Dollar of Natchez and Chelsea Freeman of Natchez.


Caleb Bradshaw, 10, made the longest trip to the hunt, traveling with his father from Indianola.

&uot;I saw a yearling and a doe,&uot; Bradshaw said. &uot;My brother (Seth) is the big hunter in our family. But it was fun and I would do it again.&uot;

Eleven-year-old Jacob Shoemake came from St. Francisville, La.

&uot;I saw two yearlings, but didn’t see anything else moving,&uot; Shoemake said. &uot;I’d like to do it again.&uot;

The youth hunt was the first ever by the St. Catherine Creek Refuge.

&uot;Hopefully we can have more than one a year in the future to get more kids out here,&uot; Cupit said.