Meeker youth learn about turkey hunting

MEEKER I Three young hunters — two from Meeker — recently learned the art of hunting gobblers courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s 2013 Hunter Outreach Program’s Youth Turkey Hunt. Guided by CPW officers, the novices learned new skills and strategies during a high-quality private land hunt in April.
Taking their first steps in hunting were 11-year-old John P. “Japes” Moran of Fort Collins and 12-year-old Shelbi Blazon and 11-year-old Ridge Williams, both from Meeker. The novice hunters recently completed their hunter education class and were selected after submitting a 500-word essay about the importance of hunting in wildlife management.
“We have been doing this several years now, and to see the big smiles on these kids’ faces makes it all worthwhile,” said District Wildlife Manager Bailey Franklin, who coordinates the turkey hunt each year.
Because none of the three had hunted before, personal guidance from district wildlife managers Jon Wangnild, Mike Swaro and Terry Wygant was a critical part of the experience. The young sportsmen also received hunting gear, prizes and food for the hunt.
Moran even harvested his first turkey and learned first-hand how to properly field dress and care for the bird.
Local landowners donating their time and land for the 2013 youth hunt included: The Jensen Family Ranch, leased and managed by Rocky and Sparky Pappas; Seven Lakes Lodge; Jim and Jody Goff, owners of Big Mountain Ranch; and K/K Ranch.