A great turnout of hunters at the Lake County Pheasants Forever family hunt.
PF on the Landscape in Illinois
Story by Haleigh Rowland, Northern Illinois Regional RepresentativePhoto by Lake County PF
One thing Pheasants Forever chapters have in common is that they want to get kids outdoors. That can be easier said than done. How do you keep kids engaged and interested in the art of hunting? The Lake County Pheasants Forever chapter in Northeastern Illinois had thought of the question a few times — they would host a youth event and kids would come out and have fun … but then what? Just wait until next year’s event? Nope, that wasn’t good enough anymore.
So the chapter took the idea of hosting multiple youth hunts to the Richmond Hunt Club (RHC), and the hunt club said, “Whatever you need!”
RHC made three fields available for use, opened their clubhouse for registration, and then helped the chapter get birds for the upcoming youth events. But that’s not where it ends in terms of community support. Members of the Wisconsin-Illinois Hunting Retriever Club extended a helping hand by serving as dog handlers and mentors; they put their own dogs to work flushing and pointing in the field.
The events didn’t just happen over the course of a week or two. The beginning was back in late July with a family-friendly Outdoor Day where attendees got the opportunity to learn about hunter safety, cooking wild game, archery, tomahawk throwing and fishing. Next came the two youth hunts where kids had the chance to become a little more comfortable with shooting and hunting. Then the grand finale was the family hunt in mid-November. There were 27 hunters in the field that day and smiles on every face.
The chapter plans to host even more events, adding at least one more family hunt for next year’s roster. “We believe that if the parents enjoy it then there’s a much better chance that they will get the kids out more — as a family,” said Matt Mecereau, Lake County Pheasants Forever president.
If you live in Northeastern Illinois and want to get more involved with this chapter, find them on Facebook as Lake County Pheasants-Forever.
This story originally appeared in the 2022 Spring Issue of the
Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Pheasants Forever member today!