The entire spring youth turkey hunt in Indiana occurred on just two days- Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18th. Unlike past years, the Wild Sheep Foundation was involved this year in helping inspire and educate youth by helping to sponsor a youth turkey hunt event.
Collaborating for over a year with the Graveyard Hunt Club located in the area around Washington, Indiana, the WSF was to be one of the major sponsors of the event. Julie Chapman, one of the main organizers, along with her many dedicated volunteers, easily filled up the fifty youth spots within days of advertising it. Being the fourth year of the event, word had spread. During the first event, only four years ago, just twelve kids participated. Year by year, the event grew. With kids quickly filling up a waiting list, we decided to squeeze in ten more kids, capping the event at 60 this year.
A quality event is just as important as the number of youth that are impacted. With each child having their own mentor to take them into the field at various blinds around mid-western Indiana, it was vital to have high-quality mentors and places to go where opportunity was present.
The event appeared to go off without a flaw. The mentors were top-notch and worked very well with the kids, who ranged in ages from about five to seventeen. Being spread out over vast areas on public and private land, and even with some shuttling taking place to get some of the young hunters to their blinds, there didn’t appear to be any congestion.
One reason the event is so successful, besides it being absolutely amazing for a kid to have a turkey gobbling and coming into decoys, is the passion behind the event. Chapman said, “Our organization is growing because of the hearts of the great people surrounding me that have the same passion for the outdoors as I do.” It was easy to see the hardworking, passionate volunteers when everyone gathered for the award ceremony on Sunday night at the Craig Family Camp in Green County.
During the awards ceremony, a turkey strip dinner and all the fixins were served. Youth received goodie bags with a variety of items, including turkey calls. A free raffle occurred for the kids and some of the lucky youth took home turkey decoys among other great prizes.
There were many first-time hunters who took part in the turkey hunt. Some of those first-time hunters even took an award home, including one young boy who shot the largest turkey at 24 pounds. Of those who hunted during the two days, 48% of the hunters were successful and nine kids took a shot and missed. Lots of opportunity!