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Young Hunters Enjoy Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt

May 13, 2010
By Brenda Layman
NASHPORT, OH — Ten Ohio youth were up and about by 4 a.m. on May 8. By 5:48 that morning, they were dressed in camouflage from head to toe and in the woods with their guides, participating in the Third Annual Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt. Three girls and seven boys took part. The teens won the opportunity in an essay contest, writing on the topic, “My Best Hunt.”

A cold front had moved through Ohio, bringing gusty wind and temperatures in the low 50’s, but in spite of challenging conditions, three of the youth were successful. By noon, word had reached Dillon Overlook at Dillon State Park, where post-hunt festivities were being readied, that two hunters had bagged turkeys. A short time later, news arrived of a third bird downed. First to return to Dillon Overlook was Michael Stark, 15, of Brunswick, OH and his guide, Scott Bare, of Flint Ridge Outfitters. It was Stark’s first turkey hunt.

“All I could think was, ‘big’!” he said when asked to describe his reaction upon shooting the 19-pound gobbler. Bare, the guide, said, “We watched that bird for a good hour until Michael was able to get a shot at it.” Stark smiled continually as DNR officials, sponsors, and members of the press gathered around to get a look at the turkey, a beautiful bird with an 10 and a quarter-inch beard.

The next turkey to arrive belonged to 15-year-old Sam Garrigus of Farmer, accompanied by guide Kindell Keeton of Flint Ridge Outfitters. Garrigus described the hunt.

“I called, and it just came right up. The head popped up, the tail fanned out, I saw the shot and I just took it.”

Garrigus’s father, Peter Garrigus, said, “Hunting has always been Sam’s thing. Even when he was a little boy, he loved to watch Elmer Fudd hunt “the wabbit” in cartoons. He would bite pieces out of a slice of bread and make a gun shape. As soon as he was old enough, we took a hunter education class together, and now we hunt all the time, all kinds of game. Sam would do this every day.”

Finally, MacKrea Kilpatrick, of Newcomerstown, arrived with the third bird of the hunt. Kilpatrick, 16, was guided by Doug Wallen, also of Flint Ridge Outfitters.

“When I shot the turkey, I thought, ‘I actually got one!’” said Kilpatrick. “She’s been hunting for eight years,” said her father, Tim Kilpatrick, “but this is her first real year of turkey hunting.”

In addition to Stark, Garrigus, and Kilpatrick, participants were: Jamie Nicole Socotch of Alliance, Ben Rodriguez of Bluffton, Darren Gephart of Fort Laramie, Josiah Sifford of McArthur, Albert James Antolik of New Albany, Michael R. Thompson of New Plymouth, and Emily Schaad of Stockport. Schaad is the 2010 winner of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio Chapter’s scholarship contest. Cindy Schaad, Emily’s mother, said, “She’ll be starting wildlife studies at Hocking College next year, getting ready for a career as a naturalist or wildlife law enforcement officer. This is her passion and her obsession in life.”

Festivities concluded with a cookout and some brief comments from Governor Ted Strickland, who thanked the sponsors and the Department of Natural Resources. The governor commended all the youth who participated in the hunt, saying,

“If more of our young people spent time with nature, we’d have fewer problems in our world.”

Article Photos

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland with all 10 youth participants of the Third Annual Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt. Photo by Mark Layman



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