4-H taught safety for hunters

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, August 2, 2008

This week I will move from answering questions and give a report on our annual 4-H Shooting Sports Hunter Safety Camp. Even though hunting season may still be a few months away, I am sure many of you have it engraved in your heads, where to put food plots, what does the buck you passed up last year will look like now, and where you will hunt.

With more young hunters entering the woods each year we should also make it a point to emphasize safety as part of our annual check-up.

This year we will be offering classes on aging deer and how to use infrared technology to measure your deer populations.

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In the meantime, we wanted to focus on providing youth with hands-on in-depth safety training.

I must first thank the dedicated group of instructors that came out and provide all the safety and technical training to make the camp possible. We had a highly qualified list that included, rifle instructors Vince Barbieri and Jack Withers; shotgun instructors Walter Harrison and Freddie Voss; muzzleloader instructors Clark Burkett and Byron Garrity; archery instructor Lee Mason and myself as ATV instructor. Mr. David Robertson also helped with safety on multiple ranges and was greatly appreciated. Jack Withers provided all classroom lessons with the assistance of Byron Garrity. Last but not least was the Adams County 4-H staff of Melanie Sojourner and Geraldine Geyen for their tireless efforts to coordinate the whole camp. Sponsors for the camp included Adams County Sherriff Ronny Brown, VFW Post 9573, Moose Lodge No. 1662, D&D Drilling, Concordia Bank & Trust, and AMR Medical Response.

The camp was at the Adams County Sheriff’s Shooting Range from Monday through Friday and by all accounts, it was a huge success. Youth ranging in age from 8-16 received safety training and instruction in shotgun, rifle, archery, muzzleloader and ATV operations. At the conclusion of the camp all youth that attended the required hours and passed a certified test received hunter safety certification. After the final test was graded 27 youth became Hunter Safety Certified.

On Friday the camp concluded with a competition that included all shooting disciplines covered during the week. Here are the results. Senior division shotgun champion Bryce Smith; rifle champion Kyle Bradley; archery champion Thomas Garrity and muzzleloader champion Sarah Garrity. The overall senior high point shooter was Thomas Garrity having the most combined points in each discipline.

For the junior competition the shotgun champion Kenneth Jordan, rifle champion Jacob Panka; archery champion Morgan Nettles and muzzleloader champion Christian Jordan. The overall junior high point shooter was Jordan Breaux compiling the most total points in all combined disciplines.

Once again thank you to all the volunteers, sponsors, parents and youth that helped make this week a success. The Adams County 4-H program is now looking forward to starting an on-going shooting sports program, so be on the lookout for upcoming trainings and opportunities to get you children involved.

David Carter is the director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201 or dcarter@ext.msstate.edu.