Chil­dren try their hand at wa­ter­fowl­ing

Delta Wa­ter­fowl’s South­ern Mary­land chap­ter leads youth hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tion on Satur­day

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Guided by ex­pe­ri­enced out­doors­men, more than 40 young hunters set out early Satur­day morn­ing in hopes of bag­ging a few birds dur­ing youth hunt day held by Delta Wa­ter- fowl’s South­ern Mary­land chap­ter.

The 42 hunters, 16 or younger, were sep­a­rat- ed into 12 groups that preyed along bod­ies of wa­ter in Prince Ge­orge’s, Charles and St. Mary’s coun­ties un­til they ei­ther shot their limit or called it quits. Each group was headed by an ex­pe­ri­enced wa­ter­fowl hunter who of­fered wis­dom and guid­ance to the younger gen­er­a­tion.

Af­ter­wards, ev­ery­one was in­vited to a chap­ter mem­ber’s spa­cious, ru­ral prop­erty in Bush­wood for lunch, trap shoot­ing, dog han­dling and goose call­ing demon­stra­tions.

“I had three [kids] this morn­ing, we killed five geese,” said Ron Parker, the chap­ter’s youth hunt co­or­di­na­tor. “A lot of kids didn’t get a chance to shoot to­day, but, you know, if ev­ery­body shot their limit, there would be no birds left.”

Founded in 2012, the South­ern Mary­land chap­ter of Delta Wa­ter­fowl has been rapidly ex­pand­ing each year, and now boasts around 350 mem­bers. This year’s youth hunt was the chap­ter’s

third and largest.

“It was a great turnout to­day,” Parker said, ex­cit- ed by the grow­ing num- ber of young hunters par- tic­i­pat­ing each year. “We try to teach them about gun safety, con­ser­va­tion … and a lot of kids don’t get into this [any­more.] A lot peo­ple don’t go hunt- ing, and a lot of the hunt- ing now is de­clin­ing.”

Among those in Park- er’s group were first-time wa­ter­fowl hunters Domi- nic Mas­caro, 14, of Hunt­ing­town and An­drew Ven­ne­mann, 15, of La Plata, who both said they plan on com­ing back next year.

“This is just more in­ter- es­t­ing to me be­cause you can talk,” said Ven­ne­man, a deer hunter. “You don’t have to be com­pletely still and quiet.”

Though not all were as lucky as their group, haul­ing in a to­tal of five geese with the help of Parker’s bird­call.

Johnny Mar­shall, 17, a se­nior at La Plata High School and first-place fin­isher in the 2013 Mary- land state ju­nior goose call­ing cham­pi­onship, showed up to lunch bird­less af­ter hunt­ing near Pic­cow­axen Creek in New­burg.

“We knew the birds were in the area,” said Mar­shall, who spent the morn­ing giv­ing point­ers to a crew of youth from Nan­je­moy. “We thought they were hold­ing on a reser­voir and that they were go­ing to get up and want to feed ear­lier in the morn­ing, but since it was a full moon last night, they fed late, so they just stayed on the reser­voir all morn­ing — didn’t have a rea­son to get up.”

The weather, Mar­shall added, was less than ideal.

“Could’ve been colder,” he said. “I think if it was colder, we would’ve had a lit­tle bet­ter luck.”

The Nan­je­moy boys — Tom Gil­roy, 15, Brian Eich­mann, 15, and Noah Beatty, 13, who is also Mar­shall’s boss’ son at Beatty Me­chan­i­cal Ser- vices — learned a thing or two from the more ex- pe­ri­enced Mar­shall.

Beatty, how­ever, in­sisted he was the one teach­ing Mar­shall how to shoot, and later went three-for-three shoot­ing trap.

One of the things Mar­shall showed Beatty and friends was proper de­coy place­ment.

“You got to play the wind with the de­coys, get the birds to land See Page A10 HUNT­ING

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Johnny Mar­shall, 17, of La Plata, who won the 2013 Mary­land state ju­nior goose call­ing cham­pi­onship, gave Nan­je­moy boys Tom Gil­roy, 15, Noah Beatty, 13, and Brian Eich­mann, 15, a few point­ers dur­ing their hunt near Pic­cow­axen Creek in New­burg.

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