On Saturday, September 21, approximately 1,000 people braved the rainy weather and converged on Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge for its annual Hunting and Fishing Day presented by the Tensas River Refuge Association (TRRA) and Refuge staff. The festivities began at 9:00 AM and continued well into the afternoon, concluding with drawings for two lottery deer hunts for youths ages 8-15. The Refuge holds two of these guided youth hunts each season in the Closed Area, with Refuge staff and approved volunteers serving as guides. The purpose of these hunts is twofold. Not only do these youths help manage deer populations within an area closed to public hunting, but more importantly these events provide opportunities to get kids excited about hunting, conservation, and our National Wildlife Refuges. For many, entering this drawing has become a family tradition. Although there were only 46 spots available, we had over 250 applicants from all over Louisiana and even some from Texas!
In addition to the youth hunt drawing, there were many other activities for children and adults alike. The TRRA volunteers and event coordinator Wanda Wallace worked tirelessly with Refuge staff to ensure that there were plenty of fun and educational activities to teach kids about conservation and the outdoors. There were live animals, demonstrations by Refuge biologists, several shooting events for kids, local artists and vendors, a youth game calling contest, canoeing, educational stations and much, much more! Several brand new events and activities were introduced this year as well. The first annual Cutest Kid in Camo contest provided some fun opportunities for children too young to apply for the youth lottery hunts. Orienteering and Guess-the-Distance activities taught young ones (and old ones too!) about using a compass and estimating distances while in the woods. Several exhibitors volunteered their time to teach valuable lessons about conservation, history, and wildlife management and were instrumental to the overall success of the event. Exhibits included primitive tools/flint napping, a raptor exhibit with a live bald eagle, canoe rides, and a historical display, just to name a few. Additionally, local up-and-coming country music artist Lainey Wilson was on hand for the morning to sing the National Anthem and serve as a judge for the Cutest Kid in Camo contest.
In conclusion, Tensas River NWR sincerely thanks all of the attendees, volunteers, honored guests, vendors, and exhibitors who contributed to Hunting and Fishing Day’s success. The sheer number of volunteers who offered their time and skills made this one of the best Hunting and Fishing Days yet! We are looking forward to next year and hope to see everyone back again!
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Please join us on September 20, 2014 for our Annual Hunting and Fishing Day Event! There will be fun events for all ages. We hope to see you there!