• DU, Fallen Outdoors team for youth hunt

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  • Editor:
    At 5:30 a.m. on a cool, crisp morning — well before the sun came up — several young local hunters set out to participate in the Eastern Kansas youth duck hunting opener Oct. 21 at Perry Wildlife Area.
    Eight volunteers from the Leavenworth Chapter of Ducks Unlimited — all active-duty or retired service members — were assisted by staffers from the local chapter of The Fallen Outdoors to organize the hunt. Both organizations strongly encourage and support getting people exposed to outdoor activities through local, experienced hunters or fishermen.
    This year’s event provided an opportunity for 11 children aged 15 or younger to participate in the Eastern Kansas youth duck hunting opener. The participants this year were children of active-duty and Department of the Army civilians stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Though the ducks did not quite cooperate because the main migration has not yet started, the event left lasting memories, provided some good waterfowl hunting tips and perhaps inspiration to get out and try again later this year.
    It was all about getting the kids a different taste of the outdoors. We are lucky to have such access to both recreational areas as well as adult advocates and groups involved to get kids out. It takes a special level of determination to get up so early, slosh through the marsh, set up decoys in the cold and wet, get set in your hunting spot and hope to see some ducks come into your spread.
    “This was my first duck hunt and it was cool that I got my first duck with my brother, dad and Paw-Paw with me,” said Colten Madere, son of Lt. Col. Keith Madere. “The hot dogs afterward were great, too!”
    Special appreciation is given to the hunt “guides” from The Fallen Outdoors chapter who were on site at least an hour early to establish hunting areas, place decoys and blinds. By the end of the day, three ducks were harvested, but all youth and their parents got some valuable insights as well as some laughs and a chance to talk with experienced hunters on decoy placement, calling strategies that early morning.
    The hunt ended at about 10 a.m. when all participants gathered to get a quick snack and snap some group photos in the parking lot before heading home.
    The Leavenworth DU chapter provided each youth participant a gift package including a hat, duck call, target thrower and donated fast food coupons. Though the kids didn’t limit out or, in some cases harvest any birds, they all had a great time.
    Mike Swienton, lead facilitator
    Leavenworth Chapter of Ducks Unlimited
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