Twenty five young hunters from Hawke’s Bay have taken part in some ‘unforgettable’ hunting experiences – including for some, bagging their first pheasant.
The junior hunting programme was organised by Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game. Youths who bought a game bird hunting licence for the 2011 hunting season, were invited to go in a draw for a day’s hunting on one of two upland game properties in the Bay – Glencoe and Tuna Nui stations. The 25 juniors were drawn from more than 80 entries.
Each of the young hunters was supervised by a ‘minder’ during the event, who ensured they followed safe firearm practices, and helped them fine tune their shooting skills.
Fish & Game Officer Tom Winlove says many were able to bag their first pheasant. And parents and caregivers looked on in support enjoying a new experience. “They took great pleasure in seeing a son or daughter enjoy a new hunting experience, and see their huge grin as they bagged their first pheasant.”
Tom Winlove says the young hunters also had the chance to try out a selection of Beretta shotguns during the course of the day. Beretta New Zealand have generously sponsored the Hawke’s Bay event for three years running, providing not only some of their quality firearms, and a selection of ammunition, but financial support – towards a nice lunch for those attending, he says.
Around 35 to 45 people attended each of the days, including juniors, parents, minders, beaters and supporters. Whether they were seeing or shooting their first ever pheasant, teaching new skills to youths, or helping flush pheasants, everyone enjoyed the day out, Tom says.
Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game says that after running the event for four years, there are clear signs that it is having a positive effect on the sport. Over the last two seasons 30% of those buying a licence had never owned one before. “That’s meant about 135 young newcomers to the sport over the last two years!”
Hawke’s Bay Fish & Game is very pleased with the way the program is going, and very grateful for those who helped on the day, says Tom Winlove. He says special thanks must go to property owners and operators Colin Lindsay (Owner, Glencoe Station), Steve Cox (Gamekeeper, Glencoe), Andrew Russell (Owner, Tuna Nui Station), Jeff Niblett (Gamekeeper, Tuna Nui) and A J Buttimore and Chris Ziesler of Beretta New Zealand (sponsors).
We will look to continue this event, and we look forward to seeing a new bunch of junior hunters enjoying the game bird hunting experience at next year’s event, Tom says. Any young hunters who want a chance at this opportunity, be sure to buy your game bird licence next season.