Contributed Photos / George Fisher and Jen Bruns, Idaho Fish and Game
From among the more than 200 who participated in hunter education courses across the area this spring, 25 chosen by their instructors joined the Youth All-Star Hunt last Saturday, March 26, at the Flying B Ranch. Among those who helped make it possible are conservation officers, volunteer instructors and the Flying B Ranch, as well as parents, grandparents and the students themselves. “In a time where everything goes so high-tech so fast, where there’s so much immediate gratification, it’s so nice to slow the world down and enjoy the things that make Idaho and Idahoans so great,” district conservation officer George Fischer said. “This is so much more than hunter education and so much more than a youth hunt, because there’s so many lessons to be learned. We’re so proud of these kids, and the people who step up to help.”
Among those pictured are Fischer, First Hunt Foundation organizer Rick Brazell, Roy Kinner, Pres Funkhouser, Larry Thatcher, Kyle Christopher, Nick DeBolt, Ethan Bishop, Mike Paul and Mark Rambaugh, and not pictured are Kevin Asker, Bill Seybold, Jen Bruns and Pat Hilton. Fischer highlighted two other organizations: the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
“It’s a huge undertaking for the kids and the instructors alike,” Idaho Department of Fish and Game district conservation officer George Fischer said Monday, March 28, looking back at the hunter education programs that IDFG has helped put on across the area this year. “It’s two hours after school in the evenings. Ages go from nine to 60 — I think we had a student in their 70s this year.”
He said it’s tough on the kids — about 225 in all, he estimated — and tough on the instructors.
“With that said, I’m so proud of these kids for focusing on what is such an important thing in this area,” Fischer said. “Like I tell the kids in the class, it’s important to have a solid foundation in gun safety because if you’re growing up in the Grangeville area, you are going to be at a party some day when somebody who is a non-hunter is going to bring a gun out, and you’re going to have some decisions to make to stay safe.”
Fischer said some of the tips kids learn in these classes are saving lives, because there are so many firearms here, “which we’re proud of!”
“But it takes a lot of responsibility and these kids stepped up to stay attentive after a long day.”
The “grand finale” is a hunt — Fischer calls it the “Youth All-Star Hunt” — which has been put on by Flying B Ranch each year for the last decade.
“I can’t thank them enough for their efforts and dedication,” Fischer said. “They sponsor it along with our volunteer hunter education instructors and the local game wardens.”
The toughest part for Fischer was deciding who out of a couple hundred — hundreds — of students down to 25.
“We have so many darn-good kids here,” Fischer said. “But we have to try to get the best.”
The hunt went off without a hitch last Saturday, March 26, with kids from Cottonwood, Nezperce, Grangeville, Craigmont, Kooskia and Kamiah attending. “The big part of the day is we met our 100 percent safety record,” Fischer said. “There can be no other safety level. I’m proud of the shots the kids didn’t take. If for whatever reason they didn’t feel comfortable, they knew not to take it.”
The shots they did take yielded quite a bounty, which those attending sampled afterward, with Bill Seybold preparing the meat, frying breast and thigh pieces in butter.
“In a time where everything goes so high-tech so fast, where there’s so much immediate gratification, it’s so nice to slow the world down and enjoy the things that make Idaho and Idahoans so great,” Fischer said. “This is so much more than hunter education and so much more than a youth hunt, because there’s so many lessons to be learned.”
Among them: charity.
The National Wild Turkey Federation — which will hold its annual fund-raiser banquet April 9 in Greencreek — “got the majority of our ammunition,” Fischer said, naming off others, who are listed with the photo caption at right.