Young hunters from across the region shot their first bird of the season at private duck clubs during the seventh-annual Big Muddy Duck Hunt held in Mound City, Missouri, last Saturday.
There were 24 hunters between the ages of 11 and 15 who attended the free event in Holt County during the youth duck hunting season. A total of 11 birds were harvested on Oct. 20.
Retired conservation agent Russ Shifflett said the goal of the clinic is to give youths who haven’t been duck hunting before an opportunity to do so. The event also is organized each year by Holt County conservation agents Anthony Maupin and Jade Wright.
“Originally, the objective of the clinic was to provide a hunting opportunity for youth whose parents were deployed in the armed services,” Shifflett said. “In the first couple of years of the duck hunt, we focused on youth that didn’t have the opportunity to hunt because their parents were servicing our nation in the armed forces. It has since changed to where we have a combination of local youth and youth whose parents are in the military.”
He said there were youths who attended the hunt who have parents from the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
This year the clinic also was open to the Missouri Department of Corrections.
During the clinic held at the Flyway Lodge, the youth were educated on duck hunting by attending five stations that were designed to teach how to safely and effectively harvest the birds.
The stations included duck calling, duck identification, waterfowl hunting regulations and preparing waterfowl as food. In addition, there were beginning and intermediate shooting skills stations that allowed the youth to learn how to safely and confidently use a firearm.
“Waterfowl hunting, in general, is different from some other sports in that duck hunting requires a lot more equipment needs,” Shifflett said. “It’s a little harder for kids to gear up for that first year unless their parents are already duck hunters. During the clinic, we even teach them to take care of their game after they harvest it so it can be eaten. Ducks and geese are very good to eat if cleaned properly and if cooked properly.”
Caitlynn Lovell, 11, attended the clinic for the first time with her father Robert who serves in the military at Fort Leavenworth.