I always find it a pleasure volunteering with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Youth Hunting Program within the hunter safety division. This program takes interested youth out on guided mentored hunts helping them to growing confidence and skill while making sure we share ethical hunting practices.
My most recent hunt with the FWC was at Adams Ranch. The Adams Ranchhas been in the same family and in continuous operation for nearly70 years. Purchased in 1937 and incorporated 26 years later it has grown from 15,000 acres to more than 65,000 acres. Each cow has 5 acres of land and are very wall provided for. Known as one of the largest Cow and calf producers in United States, there’s more to Adams Ranch than just beef.
The cattle bread on this ranch are a hybrid mix and heat tolerant. Land management conservation practices are in place benefiting native wildlife plants and insects. As a successful rancher Bud Adams has a strong awareness and appreciation of nature and he understands soil, water, seasons, weather, natural plant life wild and domestic animals, insects, fish, reptiles, and fowl. No pesticides are used on the property. The Adams Ranch and Bud Adams have won numerous awards for environmental stewardship.
Once a year, youth participating in the youth hunting program of Florida are invited to an educational hunt on this ranch. Volunteers from all over the state of Florida (experience hunters) come up and educate the youth on all aspects of hunting. The youth must attend with a parent or guardian and be between the ages of 12 and 17. All youth must qualify on the range to show proficiency with their firearm. Upon arriving they set up camp and become familiar if their surroundings.
For this hunt I was the cook, I don’t always get to guide but I’m glad to help in any way I can. Not long after all the youths arrived they went out on the range and I started preparing dinner. After dinner we all spent time around the fire answering their questions and making sure that they’re prepared for their morning hunt.
4:30 am was early for these youths, but we had no trouble getting any of them up and out in their hunting blinds. They were able the hunt both Saturday morning and evening and Sunday morning. Three of the five youths harvested their first deer. All of the young hunters were taught how to properly clean and prepare their deer for the trip home.
On Saturday afternoon three FWC officers and canine Officer Boone spoke to the youth about the FWC their duties and the K-9 and program. The kids really enjoyed seeing Boone demonstrate the power of his nose! Bud Adams came and spoke with the youth about the history of the ranch. We reviewed the principles of leave no trace with the youth and parents, and the youth had the opportunities to fish and stock ponds in the afternoons.
Each time I do these hunts I am very grateful for the youth that are continuing on with our hunting heritage. Watching these young men and women mature so much in one weekend is an unbelievable sight. I look forward volunteering on many more hunts with the youth hunter program.
For more information on the Youth Hunting Program of Florida please visit: http://myfwc.com/YHPF
If you’re interested in becoming a HuntMaster to assist on youth hunts or you’re just interested in donating land and time for a youth hunt on please feel free to contact me and I will put you in touch directly with the parties in charge or visit http://myfwc.com/get-involved/volunteer/programs/youth-hunting/
For additional photos from this and other trips: http://notaclueadventures.kodakgallery.com/
For videos on Bud Adams speaking to youth and the K-9 demonstration visit our YouTube Channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/Notacluegal?feature=guide
For more information on Not a Clue Adventures please visit: http://www.notaclueadventures.com or visit us on facebook!