JAKES Hunt Puts 46 Children In The Woods

GON Staff | December 1, 2007

Forty-six young hunters enjoyed fellowship and a prime piece of hunting land at a JAKES hunt held at Hilliard Plantation in Marion County Nov. 3-4.

For the last four years, the Turkey Oak Strutter Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has been doing a lot to get kids in the woods. This year, the annual Marion County kids’ hunt grew into a statewide event, and the Georgia Chapter of NWTF took it to the next level.

“Any time we can get children involved in the outdoors, it’s a win-win situation. It makes it that much easier to pass on this tradition,” said Bob Fountain, regional field supervisor for the Georgia Chapter of NWTF. “To get them together in a group setting like this, where they can socialize with other hunters of their own age group, at a plantation that rarely gets hunted was great. All of them were just elated at the opportunity to get together and hunt a place like this.”

Joe Marlin Hilliard, of Hilliard Plantation in Marion County, offered up his 8,000-acre property for the doe hunt, which hosted 46 boys and girls from across the state. Thirty-four deer were killed, making for a hunter-success rate of more than 70 percent. The event was staffed by many members of the NWTF state board, and 15 to 20 local volunteers were also on hand to guide the hunters.

But killing deer wasn’t the only thing going on at the hunt, held Nov. 3-4. Along with their guardians, all the kids camped out in tents or campers on the property. They were provided with meals, and WRD biologists and law-enforcement officers gave talks on hunting safety, ethical hunting and game management.

As a special treat, two hogs killed on the hunt were cooked up on the spot for the kids. NWTF members donated a .308 rifle and a 20-gauge shotgun that were raffled off along with other items. The kids were also outfitted with a full set of camo provided by Mossy Oak.

The Hilliard hunt is one of several hunts the Turkey Oak Strutter chapter is involved with this season. The chapter is looking forward to its local-level hunt in December, where landowners volunteer to take a kid hunting from the local schools.

“Even though we’re a rural area, we’ve got a lot of kids in the school here that don’t have anyone to take them hunting or anywhere to go,” said Judy Catrett, president of the Turkey Oak Strutter Chapter. “We thought it would be a good idea to get some kids out there that have never been hunting before.”

Mickey Reddish and his daughter Leeanna drove four hours from Jesup to hunt and camp. Leeanna took a deer.

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