Beautiful March weather was the perfect setting for kids age 10-18 to experience upland game bird hunting along the pastures and hills bordering Elk River near Pineville, Mo.

The event held by Young Outdoorsmen United introduced the youngsters to pheasant and chucker wing shooting. Nearly all the eager participants were first-time bird hunters.

Happy Hunters - Andrew Moritz, 14, (left) and Tyler Mortiz, 10, (right) display their bounty of the day. The boys bagged pheasants and chuckers with guide Aaron Meredith at the Young Outdoorsmen United "Featherfest" event. The Moritz brothers live in Rocky Comfort.

Happy Hunters – Andrew Moritz, 14, (left) and Tyler Mortiz, 10, (right) display their bounty of the day. The boys bagged pheasants and chuckers with guide Aaron Meredith at the Young Outdoorsmen United “Featherfest” event. The Moritz brothers live in Rocky Comfort.

“I’m glad I got to do this,” grinned 12-year-old Kloe Myers, of Southwest City, Mo. “I’ve never done this before and I enjoyed it very much.”

Kloe took home a pheasant and two chuckers to cook up for supper. Featherfest has become an annual event on the organization’s list of monthly activities.

This is our fourth year for Featherfest, and we get a multitude of applications to participate. Hunters are selected thru a random drawing, and the kids are ecstatic when they are notified.

Our volunteers enjoy seeing the excitement in the kid’s accomplishment when they shoot their first game birds. They relish the memories of the day as much as the youngsters do.

The kids were scheduled in three separate simultaneous hunts, with two youth per hunt. Each group was allowed an hour and 45 minutes to harvest three hen pheasants, three roosters, and six chuckers. This year the hunters averaged four birds per group.

“Look, look, I got some,” boasted 10-year-old Jaden Hooper, of Noel, Mo., as he brought his harvest of a pheasant and chucker to the check-in table. “The guide and dog found the birds, and I shot these. It was awesome!”

By Dan Fuller

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