Youth season began last week with a few local hunters having success

Published 12:18 am Sunday, November 13, 2011

Area youth headed to the woods last weekend to kick off deer gun season during the youth hunting weekend. Jalen Harried, 7, poses with the doe he killed on the first day of the youth hunting season. (Submitted photo.)

NATCHEZ — Seven-year-old Jalen Harried took advantage of the first day of the Mississippi youth deer season to make his first deer-hunting trip. And with a little help from his father, Stanley, Jalen was able to turn his first deer hunt into a success.

The Harrieds began their hunt at approximately 7 a.m. Nov. 5. By 8:30 a.m. the duo spotted a doe, and Jalen shouldered his muzzleloader rifle. With Stanley standing behind Jalen helping him aim, Jalen pulled the trigger and killed his first deer.

“I was happy,” he said. “It dropped and then it got up and ran, and we followed the blood trail. It was exciting, and I think it’s really fun.”

Jalen’s mother Gladys said she got the call from Jalen to inform her of his accomplishment, and she was more excited than he was.

“He called me, and I was asleep,” she said. “Then I started screaming on the phone, and he was so calm. I told everybody, all of my friends, and he hasn’t told anyone.”

Jalen said he has a good reason for not telling his friends at Frazier Primary School about the 146-pound doe.

“They’ll try to get some deer meat,” he said.

Jalen said he had been squirrel hunting with his father a few times before, and that made him want to try deer hunting.

“This was my first deer (hunt),” he said. “I always liked going squirrel hunting, and I wanted to do deer.”

Jalen also plays basketball, football and soccer, but said hunting is his favorite.

Jacob Wilson, 11, poses with his buck. (Submitted photo.)

“It’s exciting, relaxing and fun,” he said. “(I’m going again) this weekend.”

“He would go every weekend if we could,” Gladys added.

Although the opening weekend of the youth hunt was a great chance for first-time hunters to get out and try their luck, there were also some experienced young hunters, like Vidalia High School ninth-grader Matthew Warnock, 15, who had some luck last weekend.

Warnock got himself an eight-point buck in Jefferson County.

“I was just looking down at my phone, and I looked up, and he was out there,” Warnock said. “I took one shot, and he dropped.”

Warnock said his most recent deer was the ninth he has killed. He said he and his father Mickey Warnock hunt often together and have been participating in the youth hunting weekend for a while.

“We just went for the opening day of the youth hunt,” Matthew said. “We always go. I’ve been hunting for a long time.”

The eight-point buck weighed in at 200 pounds.

Matthew said he enjoys being out in the woods and the adrenaline rush that comes with shooting a deer.

Eleven-year old hunter Jacob Wilson also took advantage of the weekend. The buck he killed was not his first, but definitely his biggest he said.

“I was like, ‘Dang,’” Wilson said about getting close to the big, eight-point buck he killed Nov. 5.

Matthew Warnock, 15, poses with the eight-point buck he killed. (Submitted photo.)

“I was sitting in the stand and told daddy (Purvis Wilson) that (the buck) wasn’t coming,” Jacob said. “Then it just walked right under our stand, and I said, ‘I’ll get him dad,’ and I shot and dropped him.”

Wilson, who is a fifth-grader at Adams County Christian School, said he has been hunting for a long time and this was his fifth deer.

Jacob’s mother Shannon said she thinks hunting is a good hobby for her son.

“I think it’s a good thing, because it keeps him involved with his daddy for one,” she said. “It teaches him responsibility. He has to get it out and clean it, and we taught him how to process it. It’s a family-oriented thing.”

Natchez State Park was one of the locations that hosted hunters for the youth weekend, and manager Roddy Powell said although the action wasn’t extremely heavy Nov. 5 and 6, the state park is still producing a lot of deer.

“At the present time, we are on track to set a new record of overall deer harvest,” he said.

Powell said the state park will continue to host weekend lottery hunts until the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Bob Strader, who is manager of the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge, said the refuge hosted youth hunters throughout the week.

“It went well as far as everything running smoothly,” Strader said. “Saturday afternoon (Nov. 5) we had a deer harvested, and I think through the week we had at least four deer.”