Junior Hunters Learn Ethical, Safe Hunting Procedures

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The West is synonymous with wide open spaces and big-game hunting in the fall.

Currently Arizona has a juniors-only deer hunt going on in many areas statewide. Unit 23, which is close by, stretching from the Mogollon Rim to Roosevelt Lake, has 150 permits for any antlered deer. Young hunters are in the field and have an opportunity to harvest a whitetail or mule deer buck.

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Among those successful in recent youth big-game hunts was Nick McMullen (top), who bagged a buck on opening morning with one shot at 220 yards with his .35-06 caliber rifle. Chance Randall (center) was also among those who took a buck during a youth hunt in Unit 23. Kyle Randall (bottom) downed a mule deer that was still in velvet.

The juniors-only hunting program is set up for guys and gals ages 10 through 17 and has helped to introduce the outdoors to the next generation, as well as teaching them ethical and safe hunting procedures.

Before going into the field, the hunter safety course is highly recommended and actually required for those juniors between the ages of 10 and 13. Oftentimes, these courses are also attended by one or both parents which can make the entire hunting experience a healthy family time.

nce the deer tag is obtained by a drawing procedure, the lucky hunters are notified and planning usually becomes a father's responsibility.

Family camping trips in the unit for preseason scouting are a must to increase the odds for success. Time spent with your children around a campfire or on a hillside, looking through optics, can be those extremely valuable windows of opportunity in true family bonding.

The entire hunting experience is so much more than just pulling the trigger.

he appreciation of the outdoors, the family time, and the preparation and training all go into a successful big-game juniors hunt. "I might add, success is not always determined by placing a tag on an antler tine. I remember a couple of very memorable camping trips with my boys that no doubt will be stories for them to share with their children."

The quality of the hunt and the family experience in the outdoors may actually pay bigger dividends in the future of that young hunter.

And as always, this weekend, enjoy the Arizona outdoors, God's creation.

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