Youngsters do well in the hunting field
Patrick Rebout, 13, hadn’t had any luck by early Sunday afternoon, but it was only his second day hunting in his whole life.
Flann and Rebout joined the estimated 629,752 hunters who hit the woods on opening weekend of the nine-day gun deer season, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
At Waters Edge Bait and Tackle, 815 S. Washington St., Janesville, hunters came in a steady stream in the morning to register their deer, reported Matt Henn, who owns the shop with Debby Oliver.
DNR staff were on hand at the busy station to record the sex and age of deer and the kill rates. The numbers are put into a formula and help the DNR determine the size of the deer population, explained Tami Ryan, a Regional Wildlife Supervisor.
Ryan and a wildlife technician, Rachel Anderson, also were collecting the heads of deer to check for Chronic Wasting Disease, which is known more commonly as CWD. Hunters weren’t required to participate in the testing.
The Rebout boys wanted to keep their deer heads.
Patrick Rebout, who was hunting with his cousins and a family friend, said he saw some deer.
“I could have shot one, but it was too close to the road,” Patrick said.
His cousin, Eric Rebout, corrected him.
“No, you would have been shooting towards the road,” Eric said.
“Yeah,” Patrick responded, despondently.
The Rebout party got a doe, a nubbin buck and a six-point buck, and planned to go out again.
Gabrielle Flann had been hunting with her father, Jeff Flann. She didn’t mind giving the head of her first deer to the DNR.
“I’m really excited I got it,” Flann said of her deer. “My younger sister Terra, she’s younger than me, got her first two before me.”
That was earlier this year, during a different part of the hunting season.
“I’ve had her out with me since she was baby,” her father said of his older daughter. “She got a hundred on her hunter safety test.”
They’re going to give the deer to Gabrielle’s grandparents.
Grant McLain, 16, was hunting with his father, Terry McLain. The younger McLain shot the second and third deer of his career, one right after another. The pair was registering a buck and a doe.
“You usually don’t get them both like that,” his proud father said.
Although the numbers of young hunters are down in other parts of the nation, that isn’t the case in Wisconsin, Ryan said.
“We have a really strong hunter safety program,” Ryan said.
And more girls are joining their fathers and brothers in the fields.
Female hunters represent 7.9 percent of the total number of deer hunters, and 13.26 percent of hunters are ages 12-25. This year, 20.6 percent of the first-year 12-year-old hunters were girls, according to the DNR.