The Miles City chapter of Pheasants Forever treated four local kids to a Youth Pheasant Hunt on Sept. 22. The hunt coincided with Montana’s Youth Only Pheasant and Waterfowl Hunt weekend.
Miles Muscha of Pheasants Forever said the chapter hopes to instill and foster a love of the outdoors in participating youths, and much of the focus is on building confidence in the kids.
The hunt took place on the Mulligan Preserve south of Miles City. Aren Fenner, 13, Tylee Huft, 11, and Tristan and Austin Hould, 12, all took part in the outing arranged by Jeff and Nancy Okerman and Pheasants Forever. The kids were accompanied by chapter members Muscha, Justin Hughes, Erin O’Connor, Megan Van Emon and Chad Harvey. Parents Jamie and Erin Hould and Hope and Beau Huft tagged along. Sarita and Steve Fenner could not make the hunt but supplied homemade breakfast burritos.
Tylee Huft participated in the Apprentice Hunter program, mentored by her dad.
The hunt is part of the Pheasants Forever Youth Mentor Program. PF has four to six kids each fall for four Saturdays of education and then the hunt. To prepare for the hunt, the youths spent one hour each Saturday in the classroom learning safety, ethics, landowner relations, map reading and bird identification. They also spent two hours each session on clay shooting to gain confidence.
Weather initially postponed this year’s hunt for a day, but that Sunday brought great weather, minus the very dewy morning. Birds did not want to fly in the morning due to the moisture, Muscha said, but things dried out and they started to fly. All of the kids got in multiple shots. During the three-hour hunt, three roosters were harvested. Muscha and Hughes brought their dogs, an English Setter and a German Shorthair. The dogs did very well, and both they and the kids were exhausted.
Pheasants Forever provides guns for kids who don’t have their own, all of the ammunition, and a hat and vest. People interested in PF’s youth mentor program can contact Miles Muscha at 406-579-7315 for more information.