Young hunters learn about

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

rules of hunting at week-long camp

By Julie Finley

The Natchez Democrat

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Twenty-two young hunters took aim at safety this week and hit their mark.

The fourth annual hunter safety camp gave the 10- to 18-year-olds a chance to shoot rifles, muzzleloaders and shotguns at the Adams County Sheriff’s Shooting Range.

For 11-year-old Keenann Woods the camp was the first time he’d ever shot a gun.

&uot;I learned to never ever ever point the bullet at anyone,&uot; Woods said. &uot;And I passed the test, too.&uot;

The campers were tested on the skills they learned throughout the week. A passing grade is necessary to obtain a hunter’s license at age 16. County Director for the Adams County Extension Service Cheryl McClure said all 22 students passed the test.

The safety program was developed into a weeklong camp four years ago because the number of students passing was low.

&uot;Now they are outside doing what they are learning,&uot; McClure said. &uot;They are learning more and getting more out of the class.&uot;

This is the first year to have a 100 percent pass rate.

The students spent about two hours a day rotating to different areas, spending some time indoors learning skills before trying them out on the range.

Desiree Taylor, 12, was one of three girls at the camp.

&uot;I learned a lot of stuff here that I couldn’t learn anywhere else,&uot; she said. &uot;The people here really work with you.&uot;

The camp included lessons on how to carry a gun, how to pass it to someone else, how to climb into a tree stand with a gun and other lessons about being in the woods.

&uot;I learned if you get lost don’t panic,&uot; Adam Kaiser, 11, said.

Ryan Hatfield, 14, said he’s been hunting deer with his father and uncle for about three years.

&uot;I knew most of it anyway,&uot; Hatfield said. &uot;But it was fun.&uot;

McClure said community support from a number of sponsors makes the camp a possibility each year.

Many campers who have already passed the course continue to attend until they are 18 to renew their skills and have fun, McClure said.