Local Conservation Group Offers Youth Program

Jeff Vanderbeek, with Mahaska County Pheasants Forever, (in orange), helps a local youth 'Young Guns' participant during Saturday's inaugural event.

Jeff Vanderbeek, with Mahaska County Pheasants Forever, (in orange), helps a local youth ‘Young Guns’ participant during Saturday’s inaugural event.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – It’s summer time in Iowa. The trees are filled with the chirps of birds, and the buzzing of mosquitoes. On Saturday, that sound was broken by the occasional crack of a rifle.

Smiles filled the faces of the youth who attended the Mahaska County Pheasants Forever ‘Young Guns Program’. The program is an initiative, “to get the youth outdoors. Get them involved in the shooting sports,” says Wyndell Campbell, with Mahaska County Pheasants Forever. Campbell added that the program is designed at “looking to get some of the younger kids, the ones that don’t have exposure to that (hunting). Get them out. Do some trigger time and burn some powder, and get them involved.”

Ultimately, the volunteers hope to share their love of hunting, and want to pass that legacy along to the next generation.

The ‘Young Guns’ program is an initiative started with Pheasants Forever National and the youth shooting sports.

As with many youth programs, exposing the next generation to different things helps others discover interests they may not be aware of. “If we can get them out, get them excited about shooting… show them the habitat and what’s involved in hunting,” says Campbell, on the groups hope of sparking interest in the next generation.

The program will take place the 4th Saturday of every month, rain or shine, year-round. The range at the Russell Wildlife area will open up at 9am and the program will go until noon. Experienced hunters will teach young shooters safety and marksmanship skills for air rifles, .22 long rifles and some shotgun techniques with clay targets.

The hope is that as the seasons change, warm or cold, the group will be able to help youngsters understand what it will be like to be in the field.

The group provides all the needed supplies, from the rifles to the ammo. Youth only need to bring their curiosity.

Several area youth took advantage of the morning opportunity. “We’re excited with the prospect of having a lot of kids out,” said Campbell.

If you would like to know more about the ‘Young Guns Program’, visit the Mahaska County Pheasants Forever Facebook page or contact Campbell via email at wyndell@insureosky.com

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