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#07-67 March 5, 2007

First youth quail hunt conducted by state DNR

Four young hunters had sunny weather when they participated in the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ first-ever youth quail hunt. The hunt was held Dec. 2 at the McBee Wildlife Management Area in Chesterfield County in conjunction with Quail Unlimited Pointsetter Chapter and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Take One Make One program.

Four boys ranging in age from 11 to 15, with no previous quail hunting experience, were given aQuail hunting hunter safety talk by S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Sgt. Lynwood Kearse before they broke up into pairs along with an adult guide for each child. Members of the Pointsetter Chapter and DNR staff volunteered the use of their dogs for the hunt. The boys were in the field for two hours in the morning, broke for lunch and then switched areas for three more hours in the afternoon.

The young hunters flushed seven coveys and bagged one bird. “It portends good things for the future,” said Jeff Witt, event organizer and DNR wildlife biologist Jeff Witt. “Part of the DNR vision is improved understanding, wise use, and safe enjoyment of our state’s natural resources and that is what we were able to instill in the boys.” Witt says he hopes future hunts will include even more young hunters. He also cited the partnership with Quail Unlimited with their donation of orange vests, hats, a barbecue lunch and volunteers with past experience with similar hunts.

"Quail Unlimited has been supporting management activities by buying seed and fertilizer at the McBee WMA since its acquisition in 1994, and when asked to join as co-host of this unique event, we knew we could not let this opportunity pass," said Bill Eutsler, Quail Unlimited Pointsetter Chapter special project chairman.

DNR has held youth hunts for species ranging from waterfowl to deer around the state for decades. The Take One Make One program specifically targets youth and young adults who have not experienced a previous shooting or hunting activity. Youth are paired with volunteer hunting club members and private landowners who sponsor and actively participate in a year-round hunting, fishing, and shooting sports mentorship program.

Quail Unlimited was founded in 1981 to battle the problem of dwindling quail populations and declining wildlife habitat and is the oldest national, nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the wise management of America's wild quail. The National Headquarters building, 9 miles outside of Edgefield, stands on 90 acres of Quail Unlimited prescribe burned and actively managed habitat adjacent to the 13,000 acre Sumter National Forest.
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