On Sunday, February 12, 2017, the 15th annual San Diego Junior Pheasant hunt was held in Eastern San Diego County. This cost free event was attended by 60 boys and girls ranging in ages 10 to 17 years old. This event provides an opportunity to educate youth in safe, responsible and ethical hunting techniques. Throughout this all day event, the attendees and their parents also attend seminars explaining different aspects of wildlife conservation.
This event is made possible through the support of the SCI Foundation, SCI San Diego Chapter, NRA Foundation and the San Diego County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commission’s generous donations. This event was planned and staffed completely by volunteers from the organizations mentioned below and many others too numerous to mention by name.
The hunters were split into six groups of 10. Each group was guided throughout the day by a US Marine or US Navy volunteer from Camp Pendleton as they moved from station to station. The National Wild Turkey Federation put on a seminar on the daily life of a turkey, identification of the birds, as well as hunting strategy and safety. US Federal Conservation Officers taught about conservation practices throughout the county and state. Wardens from California Fish and Wildlife were on hand to teach the youth about the importance of following the game laws and their impact on wildlife conservation. A California Rifle and Pistol Association representative explained the importance of protecting our hunting traditions and guarding our tradition to continue them.
Reservation Retrievers put on a demonstration showing how to train the hunting dogs. The hunters then participated in archery before moving on to the trap range. At the trap range the hunters familiarized themselves with the shotguns that were provided for the hunt by the NRA Foundation and had a chance for some last minute practice before moving on to the hunting field.
Each group was given detailed instruction from members of the San Diego Sporting Dog Club and The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHD) on how to conduct themselves during the hunt. They were shown the proper safety techniques involved when hunting with dogs. The youth were taken out to the fields, two hunters at a time with plenty of separation between them. As the dogs worked the field, the hunters were able to experience the excitement of the chase. When the dog found the bird and went on point, the hunters were guided into a safe shooting position before the bird was flushed. Each hunter was given two birds to shoot at. All of the hunters harvested at least one pheasant.
From here, the proud hunters headed to the cleaning station. They were given direction on field dressing their harvest and proceeded to clean the birds themselves with a little help from the volunteers manning the station. The birds were bagged and labeled in accordance with DFW regulations.
To finish up the day, the hunters and their parents were treated to a fabulous lunch provided by the FFA club from Ramona High School.
We would also like to thank Keith Cochenour, owner of Ammo Unlimited, for cleaning all the shotguns after the event and Diamond Environmental Services for providing the Portable Restrooms and sink /hand sanitizers.