The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) held its most successful National Youth Hunt to date this past weekend with all 11 hunters taking at least one deer.
The National Youth Hunt has been held annually for nine years, with a private host property in Georgia assisting to put on the event each of the last seven years. The 2013 hunt took place October 24-27, and for the first time in the hunt’s nine-year history, every participant killed a deer. Thanks to a well-timed cold front, the 11 youth hunters combined to harvest 19 deer total with eight hunters bringing in two deer apiece. Additionally, 17-year-old John Wayne Webb of South Carolina, on his first-ever sit in a deer stand, killed the largest buck ever taken as part of the National Youth Hunt, a 4.5-year-old 11-pointer that weighed 205 pounds.
However, more than just killing deer determines the success of the National Youth Hunt. QDMA teaches the young hunters the importance of safety and ethics in becoming good sportsmen and sportswomen as well as the significance of being good stewards of our natural resources. For the second-consecutive year, QDMA presented the “Sportsman of the Group” award to the National Youth Hunt participant who best demonstrated the qualities of good sportsmanship. Voted on by the group of young hunters, their guardians, the hunting guides and QDMA staff, this year’s award went to 14-year-old Jacob Peterzak of New Jersey, who took home a CVA muzzleloader for earning the honor.
With the National Youth Hunt, QDMA aims to introduce hunting to those who have an interest in it, but would otherwise not have much opportunity to participate in the outdoor sports. Nearly 40 nominations were submitted for the 2013 hunt, and at the time of their nomination, each of the 11 selected youths had yet to take a deer. The 2013 National Youth Hunt participants included:
- Grace Adkins, 14, of North Carolina
- Davis Atkinson, 11, of Georgia
- Skyler Barbot, 10, of Georgia
- Brennan Lantzy, 10, of Texas
- Hank Lovelace, 12, of South Carolina
- Jacob Peterzak, 14, of New Jersey
- Taylor Phillips, 12, of South Carolina
- Macy Kavanaugh, 11, of Louisiana
- John Wayne Webb, 17, of South Carolina
- Andy Westveer, 11, of Michigan
- Braden Young, 15, of Oklahoma
Each youth selected hunts with a guide, and throughout the weekend learning opportunities are plentiful. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) out of Fort Benning, Ga., works one-on-one with each youth to teach rifle safety, proper use of the rifle, marksmanship and shot placement including practice shots from an actual deer stand at deer silhouettes at various distances. Additional learning opportunities from the three-day hunt encompassed educational sessions at the skinning shed, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and about Quality Deer Management. The U.S. Army Marksmanship unit also gave a shotgun demonstration, and guides from the host property provided a bird dog hunting demonstration. Throughout the event, the youth hunters were also exposed to the field-to-table cycle with many of the meals including venison.
The QDMA National Youth Hunt is made possible by major financial and material support from Plum Creek Timber Company. Additional companies provided material support including Remington, LaCrosse Boots, CVA, Badlands and Winchester.
QDMA will hold its 10th annual National Youth Hunt in October 2014. The nomination period opens in January of 2014 and runs until May 31, 2014, with those being selected for the hunt being announced at the 2014 QDMA National Convention in Athens, Ga., July 24-27. A QDMA member or Branch must submit nominations. For more information on the nomination process or to become a sponsor, please contact QDMA’s Youth Education and Outreach Manager Hank Forester by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-209-3337.
Image courtesy Quality Deer Management Association