Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend part of the fifth annual Youth Rabbit Hunt at the Crane Pond State Game Area. MUCC’s wildlife habitat program has been hosting the lunch for this event to take part in engaging today’s youth in the hunting lifestyle. The cool thing about this particular youth hunt is that the kids get to hunt areas where volunteers have built brush piles and improved habitat for rabbits within the state game area. I recognized at least six volunteers at the hunt that attended as a mentor or guide with their beagles. With almost 30 youth participants and a total of 60 people at the hunt; it was an incredible turnout.

Among the 60 people, I recognized at least six that have volunteered frequently on habitat projects at Crane Pond SGA or nearby at the Fulton State Game Area. These are the sportsmen and women that set great examples for the youth that are just beginning their experience as hunters; they practice wildlife conservation by improving wildlife habitat on the public land they hunt. The 30 youth participants were split up into several groups with guides and beagles to hunt various parts of the state game area. Ken Kesson, the DNR Wildlife Biologist for the Crane Pond SGA, and Conservation Officer Brad Brewer spoke to the groups about safe gun handling and legal state land areas to hunt before sending them into the field. One lucky kid harvested a rabbit, while just about everybody else saw a rabbit or two and had a couple shots while the beagles had them running. Nobody left the event disappointed!


*Photography by: Neil Summers and Marc Udelhofen

Also there to capture the youth hunt on film was Neil Summers and Marc Udelhofen, founders of Chasin’ It. I met Neil and Marc last year at Michigan’s first Hunting Film Tour at the Grand Rapids show. Events like that are great to bring like-minded hunter-conservationists together for opportunities to network together. The mission of their Media company, Chasin’ It, states “We decided at the start, we wanted to be different.  We wanted to create passionate projects that resonate with people.  We do this by telling stories through our lens with projects that are short films and documentaries.  We work on what we, and many people, are passionate about.” Neil and Marc will also be attending the tree planting project at Crane Pond SGA on April 23rd to get film for their current production- see details and RSVP to volunteer here. It’ll be great for volunteers to be recognized for what they’re passionate about and working hard for with MUCC’s wildlife habitat program.


*Photography by: Neil Summers and Marc Udelhofen

Sponsors such as QDMA, NWTF, and Cabela’s made this event possible and also made sure each participant took home something to further enjoy the outdoors with. A few lucky winners took home a compound bow set or fishing pole and everybody was given a goodie bag with tackle, Gerber knives, binoculars, orange hats, and other small items to use in their future hunting or fishing experiences. This youth hunt is one of many great opportunities to get youth involved in the outdoors. The DNR and other sponsoring organizations are constantly offering programs targeted towards youth and adults alike. Another upcoming program that I will be involved with is the Learn to Hunt: Turkey program for adults over the age of 18 that are interested in hunting turkey for the first time- see more details about the program here!


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