I personally was able to get out and guide with my younger Drahthaar Aldo at Emiquon’s youth hunt. The father (Charlie) and his son (Jack) were in their third year or waterfowl hunting. This is the second year I’ve guided for them at a youth event. Jack is so into the right aspects of hunting—he is as interested in reading about the animals and learning as he is killing. He buys much of his own gear and respects the history of hunting.
This was a special hunt for Jack and Charlie in that they drew site 1 on the far north side of the lake and by 8:30a Jack had his first ever limit of 6 ducks composed of widgeon and gadwall. We saw our fair share of wood ducks, mallards, teal, and pintails as well. I was lucky to be a part of such an experience.
Charlie does not hunt but once he saw Jack’s interest in it he not only allowed Jack to do it but he takes the time to get Jack out as much as possible—what a great dad and unselfish example for us all. My dad was not a hunter at first but also got into the sport once he saw my interest as a young man. Thank God for dads like those!
For those of you wondering about Emiquon—it’s currently very high water—highest I’ve ever seen; but with the water control structure now in place the future of emergent vegetation (think duck food) is likely bright. There are now only 7 sites also and they have moved them around a bit. The current duck food situation is not good and compared to the past I don’t foresee this as being a banner duck hunting year there.
Once again another wonderful year of youth hunts and excellent collaboration between IDNR, Friends of Rice Lake, and Ducks Unlimited volunteers along the central portion of the Illinois River. At Banner Marsh and Anderson Lake, DU volunteer and friend Mark Schore wrapped it up like this:
We had some warm weather last weekend for the Banner Marsh and Anderson Lake Youth Waterfowl events. On Saturday we had 45 youth waterfowl hunters and on Sunday we had 28 youth waterfowl hunters. Over the weekend the youth hunters harvested 44 ducks and 5 geese. Based on generous donations each youth hunter received a DU duck call, DU multi tool and DU hat.
Due to the great dedication of our volunteers we successfully expanded the event to Anderson Lake. A special thanks goes out to Vicki Mandurano, Jeff Justice and Mark Mathis for their efforts at Anderson Lake, without their help the Anderson lake youth waterfowl event would not have achieved the success that it did. Site superintendent Scott Schlueter heard nothing but positive feedback from the participants and that was due to the great work of our volunteers.
I want to again thank Banner Marsh’s site superintendent Scott Schlueter who was able to work with the group creating the youth permit forms and adding check boxes to give youth applicants the opportunity to request a guide to assist them on their hunt. By adding these check boxes we were be able to accurately line up experienced hunters who wanted to provide a safe hunting introduction to young hunters and their guardians.
I would like to thank the following people for their support
- Scott Schlueter for his leadership and providing the information required to make the event a success
- Joe Genzel for organizing a very generous donation from anonymous donors to pay for the food and helping the team with donations for the youth giveaways
- Raber Meats for donating the hotdogs, brats and BBQ waterfowl sticks
- Dennis Wooten, Brett Brown and Vicki Mandurano for helping the team with donations for the youth giveaways
- Jeremy Thornton and the Friends Of Rice Lake for providing shotgun shells and help planning the event
- Chris Sebastian and Ryan Martin for creating the event flier
- Tom Bodtke, Ryan Stetzler and Nate Harland for setting up and cooking for the event
- Scott Marcacci, Dennis Brooks and Wes Sweet for guiding youth hunters
- Dane Malmberg for bringing his dogs out to show the youth hunters key dog training techniques
- Jeremy Carlson (Carlson Concessions) for letting us use his roasters and tables
In retrospect I think the team accomplished our goals of introducing youth to new hunting experiences and spreading Ducks Unlimited’s conservation message to a new generation.
Thanks Again For Everything You Do,
Mark A. Schore