Children try their hand at waterfowling
Delta Waterfowl’s Southern Maryland chapter leads youth hunting expedition on Saturday
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
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.