FOX TWP. - The day started cool with a beautiful sunrise as the early risers waited to start the local Pheasants Forever Chapter 630 Ninth Annual 2010 Youth Mentored Pheasant Hunt, held on Saturday, Oct. 9. Each of the 36 youth also participated in the Fox Township Sportsmen Safety Day. They heard lectures on hunting ethics and safety as well as a demonstration of pointing and flushing hunting dogs. The lucky youth were Tony Anders, Michael Beimel, Luke Bobby, Jasmine Carlson, Troy Caskey, Matthew Charters, Michael Covac, Quinn Cunningham, Raymond Dent, Hunter Fantechi, Cody Fye, Ben Harlan, Kyle Huff, Richard Johnson, Ray Kline, Christopher Lavella, Cory Lavella, Cory Lenox, Jarrod Lipsey, Nathan Mattivi, Cody McClintick, Luke Pierce, Nick Quigliani, Scott Reichard, Kyle Richard, Mary Rossman, Zachary Schatz, Adam Schauer, Holly Shields, Tommy Shields, Derek Smith, Dylan Smith, Ben Troy, Nick Trunzo, Casey Wolfe and Joshua Zelinski.
This was the second year the youth hunt was held at the new Pa. State Game Lands on Kyler Road near Dagus Mines. The extra space helps ensure a safer hunt. Everyone put on a few miles on their boots. The day warmed up fast and made it tough, dry hunting for the dogs. The youth harvested a total of 34 pheasants and 18 chukkars. But it's about more than taking birds.
"I would say that the day was about cooperation, friendship, sharing, respect for the outdoors, love of dogs, and insights into conservation much more than the harvest of pheasants or chukkars," said Leon Blashock, the Pheasant Forever Youth Hunt Coordinator.
Two lucky youngsters, Michael Covac and Nathan Mattivi, won Remington 870 20-gauge shotguns donated by the club. This event gets bigger and better each year due to help and donations from Pheasants Forever Chapter 630's partners: the Pa. Game Commission, Fox Township Sportsmen, Pepsi of St. Marys, Wal-Mart of St. Marys and Country Fair of St. Marys. Al and Bonnie Dempsey donated and served a nice lunch to all involved. An anonymous donor paid for all of the chukar birds that were hunted on property owned by Jason Swanson of Kersey. Leon Blashock spent countless hours coordinating this event.
The biggest acknowledgement for this year's successful hunt should go to the dogs and dog handlers. Many are repeat handlers from the past who come back each year because the event is so much fun for everyone. Years of breeding, training and experience teach these dogs to love tracking and retrieving birds.
Since the beginning of this annual event, Pheasants Forever Chapter 630 has mentored 390 youth, boys and girls alike, in this hunting experience.
The chapter's next meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Capital City fire hall on Front Street in Ridgway. For more information, visit www.northcentralpa.pheasantsforever.org  or call Jane at 814-772-4604.
Pheasants Forever Chapter 630 important dates:
Oct. 21, 7 p.m. - monthly meeting at the Capital City fire hall on Front Street in Ridgway
Oct. 23-Nov. 27, Dec. 13-23, and Dec. 27, 2010-Feb. 5, 2011 - Regular season for pheasants in the north central Pa. region.
Nov. 18, 7 p.m. - monthly meeting at the Capital City fire hall on Front Street in Ridgway
December 2009 - no meeting in December - Merry Christmas and happy hunting!