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Local NWTF chapter has youth turkey hunt

Kids Fishing Derby set for May 12

This past weekend, the South Hills Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted its 20th annual JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Youth Turkey Hunt, and 73 youth participated in the event.

“We started this 20 years ago as an opportunity for kids to get away from the TV for two days and discover how exciting the outdoors can be,” Chris Sammons, of the chapter, said. “It’s also a great time for kids to connect with their parents or grandparents by spending time in the woods learning a longtime tradition in hopes they will get to pass it to their children one day when they grow up.”

As part of the event, children not only had the opportunity to go on a guided hunt for wild turkeys, but 15 actually harvested a wild turkey during the hunt, with four of those being their first.

The four children who harvested their first turkeys during the hunt were Jacaob Thompson, Aiden Bistrisk, Nathaniel Miller and Isaac Hankins.

In addition to the hunt itself, all of the youth also received an education about wild turkey biology and behavior, hunting regulations and hunting safety. Each child also received their own turkey calls and other gifts.

Another upcoming NWTF event, in conjunction with the Wayne National Forest Ironton Ranger District, the Izaak Walton League of America and the Pedro Bass Club, is the JAKES Fishing Derby, set for 9:15 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at Lake Vesuvius.

Youth, ages 4-16, accompanied by a parent or guardian, are invited to come out to lake’s boardwalk to participate in the fishing event, which also includes a lunch of free hot dogs and beverages.

Along with the fishing derby, the JAKES Take Aim trailer will also be set up at the event, which is a fully equipped airgun trailer containing everything needed to set up an indoor airgun range and teach the basics of range safety.

If possible, participants should bring their own fishing pole, bucket, bait and chairs.

Some poles and bail will be available for children who may not have their own. All who attend are also encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather.

For more information on the fishin derby, call the Wayne National Forest Ironton District at 740-534-6500.

For additional safety of derby attendees and participants, the Lake Vesuvius boat ramp will be closed during the event, and will reopen at its conclusion at approximately 2 p.m.