PEQUOT LAKES -- It was a perfect day in early October for a pheasant hunt. Hunting dogs eagerly pulling at leashes, hunting mentors full of anticipation, and 17 very excited kids ready to hit the fields for a day unlike any they had experienced before. North Country Pheasants Forever hosted the event for team members of the Pillager High School Trap Shooting Team. The day’s event was an opportunity for these kids not only to test their skills, but for most, the very first time they had been on a pheasant hunt.

The pheasant hunt was part of North Country Pheasants Forever Chapter’s youth initiative to get kids outdoors. Held at Hunts Point Gun Club in Pequot Lakes, the gun club provided a fun hunting experience in a safe location for the 17 kids and a group of adult hunting mentors. The hunt began at 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, with an overview not only of gun safety but also hunter etiquette and a quick discussion on hunting with bird dogs -- both flushers and pointers. Then it was onto the hunt.

Two youth were assigned per field, along with a dog, a dog handler, and one adult hunting mentor for each youth hunter. As the young hunters walked the fields, the dogs flushed out the birds and then the action began. By the end of the afternoon, 12 birds were down and while not every kid got a bird, the smiles on their faces demonstrated an overwhelming amount of excitement at just having had the opportunity to experience the great outdoors doing something that they had always dreamed about doing.

Through organizations like Pheasants Forever, which promotes outdoor preservation for habitat and hunting, we all leave behind a legacy for our future generations. There is just no price tag for moments such as that.

For more information about the North Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever, or if you wish to join the committee to assist with other events, please contact chapter president, Jake Granfors at jgranfors@pheasantsforever.org.