The annual junior only deer hunt ended last week in unit 23 and was considered an overwhelming success by everyone involved. This week-long hunt was offered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to 150 youngsters who were between the ages of 10 and 17 years old.
To qualify for this hunt, a child must have applied in the early summer lottery drawing and have successfully taken the three-day hunter safety course prior to going into the field. In essence, these young hunters were accompanied by family and department personnel for their first big-game hunt for an antlered deer.
The Arizona Deer Association was an integral part of the juniors deer hunt in unit 23 by hosting a three-day deer camp near Punkin Center and assisting the young hunters in the field. After each day’s hunt, there were the typical campfire stories of successful stalks and of course, some good-natured joking about the one that got away. Numerous prizes were raffled off daily with the grand prize being a new model 270 deer rifle to one lucky youth hunter.
Jarrod McFarlin, Craig McMullen and Danny Rodriguez of the AGFD coordinated the event and instructed in hunting strategies which proved valuable as numerous bucks were harvested by many first-time hunters. The outdoor hunting experience can be a valuable tool in strengthening family bonds and offering healthy activities for youngsters.
Local game officer, David Daniels, had the opportunity to accompany 11-year-old Damien Haug and his dad Dr. Andy Haug for a day in the field. For both, this was their first actual deer hunt which included a rigorous hike to a high vantage point and a lesson in the use of optics in finding game.
After an hour of glassing, they located a buck which required a lengthy stalk before Damien could make a shot with his 243. A well-placed shot from a distance of 260 yards and Damien had his first deer and a story to tell his friends. His father, Andy, stated that the excitement of their first big-game hunt will certainly make them put in again for the lottery draw next year, and the help of David Daniels of the game and fish department made their hunt a success.
A successful deer hunt for a youngster can nurture the outdoor experience and help create a healthy activity for adolescents in their formative years. “When families play together, they stay together.”
This weekend enjoy the fall colors, God’s creation.