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Youth Turkey Hunters Having Fun

Youth Turkey Hunters Having Fun

Friday, June 4, 2010 Submitted to the Tribune

Fort Scott, Kansas · Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Overcast ~ 72°F
High: 91°F ~ Low: 69°F
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Cooper Parsons, 7, is seen here with the two toms he fell with a single shot on a NYHA Youth Spring Turkey Hunt at Chanute May 23. Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland, LLC, Fort Scott was one of the sponsors of the hunt.

CHANUTE — How do you create life-long memories for youth while hunting in the great outdoors? Win a World Class NYHA Youth Spring Turkey Hunt at the Lil Toledo Lodge.

The National Youth Hunting Association, in coordination with sponsors, Lil Toledo Lodge and Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland, Outdoor Ventures LLC, of Fort Scott, held a Youth Spring Turkey Roundup hunt on Saturday and Sunday, May 22-23, out at the Lil Toledo Lodge here and it was a huge success.

Youth members Ali Lentz, 16, with her mom Amber, and Ashleigh Estes, 7, with mother Sarah, and Cooper Parsons, 7, and father and grandfather went on the hunt. The hunting was so good that Cooper did the near impossible by taking two trophy gobblers with a single well-placed shot, filling both of his spring turkey tags at the same time.

Ali Lentz, 16, is seen here with a tom she claimed at the NYHA Youth Spring Turkey Hunt.
As part of the “Youth Hunting Outfitter/Celebrity Challenge” program, Rex King, the owner of the Lil Toledo Hunting Lodge, a world-class facility, donated several youth spring turkey hunts to the NYHA to create these opportunities for the young hunters. The weekend started off with all kids attending a pre-hunt safety orientation Friday night and sharing stories while gazing at the hundreds of pictures of trophies that adorn the walls of the main lodge.

At 4a.m. the next morning, four smiling faces once again filled the lodge for breakfast with great anticipation of their early morning hunts. By 4:30 a.m., the small Mossy Oak army was heading out into the darkness to set up in the blinds already in place near where the turkeys would fly down and feed each morning.

Lodge Manager Kevin Allan and Master Guide Kim Sherman made sure that the kids, guides and cameramen filming their hunts were comfortable and in the prime locations for success.

Within hours, turkey were surrounding nearly every one of our kids and their guides. Shortly thereafter, with cameras rolling and a young heart thumping with excitement, a tell tale boom echoed throughout the woods in the nearby lodge. But it was a missed shot

Not to be disheartened by her miss, Ali ventured back out that afternoon with her Master Guide, Kim, to set up in the same location that had nearly brought her success that morning. By early afternoon, the turkey once again were surrounding her blind. This time however, Ali took steady aim and within minutes, her first trophy tom ever was on the ground and she was on her way back to the lodge to share the excitement of her hunt with her mom.

Sunday morning found the remaining three youth with unfilled tags in their blinds, anxiously awaiting daylight and big tom turkeys strutting around before them. Cooper was one of those who had always dreamed of harvesting a trophy tom and on this morning he was about to have the hunt of a lifetime.

With his guide Jason calling, several toms soon came in, wooed by the sounds of hens nearby. Cooper eased the safety off, took a steady aim and made his shot count . Before he knew it two tom turkeys lay before him, making a memory that he will remember for a lifetime.

Though Ashleigh did not harvest a bird, she was able to observe them and stayed as positive and excited as ever. No doubt this young lady is going to be a fine example for the youth and all other outdoors enthusiast

While the other youth did not harvest Turkey on this hunt, all who participated had an incredible hunt. They enjoyed time at the lodge with good friends, family and loved ones. It is moments like these that instill the passion for hunting the great outdoors within our youth and preserve the future of our sports.

The NYHA would like to extend sincere thanks our sponsors, Lil Toledo Hunting Lodge, Mossy Oak Properties Heartland and all of the volunteer participants from both groups, for their support of our youth during this hunt. Without the dedication and support of sponsors like these, we would not be able to offer these programs and opportunities to our youth.

The National Youth Hunting Association (NYHA) is a 501c3 Public Charity nonprofit youth organization founded and headquartered in the state of Missouri. The association’s mission is to promote and preserve centuries-old traditions of hunting, shooting sports and conservation through youth recruitment, retention and involvement in outdoor education, training and events nationwide. For more information on the National Youth Hunting Association, how to join or support youth nationwide, please visit them at www.NtnlYouthHunting.org.