Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Washita NWR Conducts 4th Annual Youth Deer Hunt
Southwest Region, October 16, 2004
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Twenty-five young hunters from across the state converged on Washita National Wildlife Refuge on October 15th and 16th to take part in the 4th Annual Youth Deer Hunt. The hunters, aged 12 to 15, bagged 37 antlerless deer on the first evening of the hunt, and those who had not harvested their 2-deer limit returned on Saturday to add 11 more to the total. Forty-eight deer were taken by the participants.

Each hunter was given the option of taking up to 2 deer during the hunt, and most elected to do so, resulting in the extremely high success rate. Hunting was done with centerfire rifles from ground blinds - each located with an emphasis on safety and opportunity for success.

Several of the youngsters had participated in previous hunts on the refuge. ?It is especially gratifying to see so many of these young hunters choose to apply for the hunt here at Washita because of a successful previous hunt,? said Refuge Manager David Maple. ?This year, about 25% of our hunters were ?repeat customers? from the past 3 years, and we had 5 others whose siblings have hunted with us in the past.?

At least some of the hunt's popularity stems from the high success rate for beginning hunters. Since the inaugural hunt in 2001, eighty-seven youths have taken home 155 deer. Only 2 participants have gone home without venison. ?That's not to say they went home with nothing,? Maple said. ?One young lady last year decided to forego a sure shot at a fat doe, and she and her father enjoyed the rest of the ?hunt? watching the deer and other wildlife on the refuge from their concealed blind. I?m sure she took home plenty of memories and an appreciation for wildlife and wild places.?

The hunt was a joint effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and administered through the Oklahoma Wildlife Department's Controlled Hunts program.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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