[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 78°F  
High: 79°F ~ Low: 52°F
Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Taking a shot

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Each of the 44 kids that registered was given a chance to shoot a pheasant during the Pheasants Forever Youth Mentor Hunt Saturday. The experience - hiking through the brush, following the point of the dog and pulling the trigger - has made the annual hunt a successful community-wide event.
(Photo by Kate Padilla) [Order this photo]
Pheasants Forever celebrates another Youth Mentor Hunt

The annual Pheasants Forever Youth Mentor Hunt began six years ago when Jim Kitterman looked across his land and thought back to the years he'd spent hunting.

Kitterman, a long-time bird hunter, has traveled everywhere from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Iowa and the surrounding midwest to hunt grouse and pheasant. When the weather turned cold, Kitterman would travel south to Georgia and the Carolinas.

"It's a sport that hopefully will not disappear," Kitterman said.

It's this sport, and his positive memories of it, that inspired him to host the Pheasants Forever Youth Mentor Hunt in Spencer. Each year, kids show up ready to learn to hunt, and the Kitterman family, along with their friends and sponsors, are ready to teach them in a safe and fun environment.

"Our first concern is obviously safety," Kitterman said, "but our second concern is that the kids have a good time."

The Youth Mentor Hunt works with kids from families with a broad range of hunting experience. Many who sign up come from families who weren't raised in a hunting environment.

"We want to give them a positive experience," Kitterman said.

This year, 44 kids signed up to hunt. Combined with their parents and siblings, about 125 people turned out for the event. Pheasants Forever planted 75 pheasants on Kitterman's land, and he estimates that about 75 percent of those birds were killed by the kids.

The morning began with a small presentation on gun safety, as well as doughnuts donated by Hy-Vee. Pheasants Forever also donated $500 each to the Spencer Youth Challenge and the 4-H Shooting Club. The Spencer Youth Challenge is a non-profit Christian-based ministry helping children with disabilities enjoy outdoor shooting sports.

Those that were waiting for their turn with a pheasant, and those who had already taken their turn, spent the rest of their time with other planned activities, including shooting clay pigeons.
(Photo by Kate Padilla) [Order this photo]
After hunting, the kids and families enjoyed a pizza lunch provided by Godfather's Pizza.

"It's just really developed into a great fall event," Kitterman said. "We have a real good group of guys to help put this on every year. It's become very smooth and easy-going."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: