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Youths get chance to learn new hunting skills

September 10, 2012
By JOHANNA BOYLE - Journal Staff Writer ( , Journal Ishpeming Bureau

NEGAUNEE - On Saturday, kids got the chance to try out a variety of firearms at the 18th annual U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County Youth Day.

Hosted at the Negaunee Rod and Gun Club, the free event gave kids ages 10-16 the chance to shoot at targets with both a variety of guns and bows, as well as learn more about hunter safety.

"I don't know who's having more fun," said Don Ruokalainen, treasurer of the rod and gun club. "The instructors or the kids."

Article Photos

Area youths learned a variety of outdoors skills on Saturday at the 18th annual U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County Youth Day held at the Negaunee Rod and Gun Club. This photo shows examples of trapping, reloading and firearm safety are shown. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

The all-day event drew roughly 70 participants this year and has seen more than 100 in past years, Ruokalainen said.

Beginning at 10 a.m., different age groups rotated through different demonstration stations, ranging from skeet shooting to rifles to trapping.

"They get a little chance to try everything," Ruokalainen said. "They don't have to have any experience."

In fact, the Youth Day is a perfect chance for kids who are brand new to shooting to get an introduction to the sport in a safe, supervised environment.

Especially for kids who are unable to go hunting with their families for whatever reason, the day is a good opportunity, Ruokalainen said.

"We have an instructor for each kid," he said. "You show kids guns are used for other things besides killing."

Target shooting is a popular pastime for those who enjoy shooting but don't hunt at the Rod and Gun Club.

Saturday, however, it was all about seeing kids expand their horizons.

"That's where the fun part is - the kids who haven't shot before, they hit something and you see that smile on their face," Ruokalianen said.

Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.



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