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‘A really great opportunity’

LCPF mentors teach youth hunting skills in annual event

Photo by Sabrina Pankratz Nathanael Maas, a high school junior from Wayzata, patterned his gun with guidance from mentor Ron Prorok during the Lyon County Pheasants Forever mentored pheasant hunt Saturday.

MARSHALL — The Lyon County Pheasants Forever (LCPF) annual mentored pheasant hunt gave seven new hunters the opportunity to be mentored by local longtime LCPF members.

“It was really fun, it’s a really great opportunity, a lot of kids don’t get this type of opportunity, because they don’t have a group like this,” said Maria Carlson, a junior at Prior Lake High School in Savage.

Other young hunters, like 13-year-old Jake Sawiky, from Brooklyn Park, enjoyed the experience.

“I walked in to the field the first time and saw two pheasants,” Sawiky said. 

A meeting in the morning was given by conservation officer, Matt Loftness, who went over safety regulations and answered questions of students, parents, and mentors. 

“(I learned) what to dress like and be aware of my surroundings and things,” said Sawiky.

The LCPF has been putting on the mentored hunt event since 2010 or 2011.

“It gives kids opportunities to get out and get that taste. It is always good to get people outside and hunting,” said Mark Peper, the LCPF mentored hunt organizer.

“I just enjoy hunting,” said Aubree Metheny, a seventh-grader at True Light Christian School.

“(My favorite part was) being outdoors with other people and the dogs,” Sawiky said. 

“I like to go out and try to shoot the birds,” said Max Noe, an eighth-grader from Cottage Grove.

Finding mentors Peper said isn’t too difficult.

“We send an email out to all our members, if they are interested, and if they know friends that are interested. We’re lucky enough to find enough people who are willing to help,” Peper said. Peper said they had around 14 mentors and the mentees were split up between the mentors for the morning hunt. A morning hunt was followed by lunch, trap and skeet, bird cleaning demonstration and afternoon hunt for mentees that wanted to go back out.

“I really like shooting clays,” said Metheny.

“It’s just the chance to do a line hunt, and to make sure you know where you are generally walking and just pay attention more,” Carlson said.

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