SAVANNAH — “You might not realize it now, but this is an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your lives,” said Gene VanDeusen of the Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs to 28 young hunters.
Recently, the youth and their mentors attended the 6th Annual Robert F. DeRoo Youth Sportsman Dinner that was followed by a morning Pheasant and Waterfowl Hunt. The dinner and hunt was hosted by the Montezuma Audubon Center and coordinated by staff and volunteers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Longpoint Waterfowl Research & Education Centre, Ducks Unlimited, Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and other dedicated organizations.
“It was the best year yet,” noted Jim Eckler, NYSDEC Senior Wildlife Biologist for the Northern Montezuma State Wildlife Management Area. “The kids brought in more pheasant this year and we had a great diversity of ducks including Northern Pintail, Mallards, Wood Ducks, American Black Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, and also some Northern Shovelers were spotted.”
Each year, in memory of Robert F. DeRoo, the dinner and hunt delivers a message to the youth and families about the importance of hunting to conservation and how critical it is to continue the pastime with future generations. “A decline in hunting could lead to a direct threat to Audubon’s mission in supporting birds and other wildlife,” said Montezuma Audubon Center Director Frank Moses. “We hope to continue a commitment to Montezuma through a focus on sportsman programs.”
The Montezuma Audubon Center’s Sportsman Initiative includes the youth hunt, an annual summer day camp, and sportsman education classes. For more information or to support the Center’s programs, please call 365-3588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Major support for the Robert F. DeRoo Youth Sportsman Dinner & Hunt and the Montezuma Audubon Center Sportsman Initiative is provided Bass Pro Shops, Canandaigua Lake Duck Hunters, and the Friends of Carpenters Brook Fish Hatchery.
The Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 State Route 89 in Savannah, is a state-owned facility operated through a cooperative agreement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Audubon Society. Visit www.ny.audubon.org/montezuma.