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Lewistown, MO – June 4, 2007: Ominous-looking skies and the threat of rain didn’t stop over 250 people from attending the Third Annual Lewis County Conservation and Wildlife Field Day which was held Saturday at Deer Ridge Conservation Area in Lewis County, Missouri. Though many areas of northeast Missouri saw some showers, little more than a few drops fell on the event which featured instructor-led shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader and archery shooting, seminars, wildlife habitat and forestry tours, a youth turkey calling contest, numerous exhibits, and a free meal. This year’s attendance shatters previous records by nearly 100 people.
Roughly twenty youth participated in the turkey calling contest using various calls ranging from store-bought friction calls to calls made from film canisters at the nearby Missouri Department of Conservation exhibit. Three youth were awarded prizes in each of the two age groups.
The habitat tours were popular with full trailers during each of the two sessions. “I think we had 19 on the first tour and 27 on the second,” said Darlene Hoffman of the Missouri Department of Conservation and one of the tour guides at the event. “So I’d say they were pretty well attended. I just wish we could have stuck to the route we originally planned.” The routes had to be changed at the last minute as a result of the previous week’s rains making some trails impassable.
The shooting ranges saw a constant flow of participants with the shotgun range burning up over 500 rounds and the rifle range shooting up around 1000 rounds of ammunition. “Once we got started, we never really had a break. We were definitely plenty busy all day.” said David McCutchan, one of the shooting range instructors at the event. “Everyone seemed to be having fun. A lot of them would circle around and get right back in line once they were done shooting.”
Activities weren’t the only draw of the event. Numerous exhibitors ranging from MoDOT to taxidermists lined the road between the shooting range and lake. Those behind the exhibits were just as impressed as those browsing them. “We thought it was great,” said Jacque Mohr who co-hosted the Gameheads Unlimited exhibit. “We made a lot of contacts and a lot of kids were asking us questions. It was a really good time. We definitely want to come back next year.”
In addition to the activities and exhibits offered at the event, drawings were also held for free youth memberships to Pheasants Forever, and a free youth lifetime hunting license was given away courtesy of the Ten Rivers Pheasants Forever chapter in Lewis County. To enter into the membership drawing, youth completed a scavenger hunt where they were to get signatures from several exhibitors at the event. To enter the hunting license drawing, they simply filled out a signup slip. The drawings were held at the conclusion of the event with Ryan Waterman, 11, receiving the lifetime hunting license. Ryan, and avid outdoorsman, is active in 4-H and Pheasants Forever, having participated in several chapter functions including the chapter’s youth mentor hunt and youth essay contest in the past year.
According to his father, John Waterman, Ryan is a “throw the gameboy and tv out the window and give him a gun or a bow and take him hunting“ type of person. His mother, Tina, backed that claim by saying, “When [Ryan and his dad] are not at a 4-H Shooting Event or hunting, they are usually watching the Outdoor Hunting Channel.” Thus it would appear that the lifetime hunting license was, in fact, awarded to a lifetime outdoorsman.
The Deer Ridge Conservation Partners would like to thank all the sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who attended the Conservation Day, making it the biggest one yet. If anyone has suggestions on how to improve future events or would like to get involved in sponsoring or planning next year’s event, please call Chris Lee at (660) 216-2520.