The Family That Hunts Together...
First came the call.
“Clinton got in!” the voice said over the phone. Shelley Parnell of Sugar Creek had just been told her 11-year-old son, Clinton, had been chosen to participate in the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center’s first Youth-Only Managed Turkey Hunt.
That was in 2003, and every year since then 10 lucky youths are drawn for the hunt.
Shelley was mildly disappointed that Clinton’s twin brother, Travis, wasn’t one of the lucky hunters, but Travis didn’t take it hard. In fact, he was extremely supportive of his brother before and during the hunt.
Meeting the Mentor
Like all the youth hunters at Burr Oak Woods, Clinton was paired with a turkey guide. The volunteer guides are not only veteran turkey hunters, they also have received special training at the Lake City Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in Blue Springs in preparation for the managed hunt. Training includes safety, proper mentoring, ethics, area regulations and more.
Drew Larson, a Conservation Department employee who worked at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Conservation Area in Lee’s Summit, was selected to help Clint.
Drew and Clint met on a crisp spring morning at the Lake City Range for a mandatory orientation the weekend before the actual hunt. By the end of the daylong orientation, which covers safety, ethics, what to wear, how to prepare for the hunt, time scouting in their assigned zone and some practice shooting, they had become close friends. Clint’s dad, Jim, also attended the orientation.
The nature center provides Remington 870 youth model shotguns and ammunition to each participant in the hunt. The guns were purchased with money donated to the nature center by the Kansas City Area chapter of Safari Club Inc. The Sables (the ladies chapter of the Safari Club Inc.) purchased a gun safe to store the shotguns. Camouflage blinds, snacks, supplies and lunch are provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation. The generosity of the donors and volunteers makes the special hunts possible for the kids.
A Day in the Field
On the day of the hunt, guides, youths, moms and dads gathered at the Burr Oak Woods check station at 4:30 a.m. Clint and his guide, Drew, were both excited as they checked their gear and headed out to the field. Clint’s dad went with them while Travis and Shelley wished Clint good luck. Even 4:30 a.m. wasn’t too early for this whole family to share in the adventure.
In the early