Commissioner Forney hosts mentored youth deer hunt |

Commissioner Forney hosts mentored youth deer hunt

Nebraska Game & parks Commission
Lincoln, Neb.

Eleven youths participated in a mentored deer hunt, hosted by Nebraska Game and Parks District VIII Commissioner Kent Forney on his family’s ranch south of Gordon, Neb., on Jan. 7-9, 2011. Several young hunters harvested their first deer.

Each of the hunters harvested at least one deer, with 18 being taken. Five hunters shot their first deer. The hunters, all recent hunter education graduates, had little or no hunting experience.

Mentored hunts allow experienced hunters to instill safety and ethics as they guide youths on what often is their first hunt.

“It was an excellent opportunity to introduce some youth to deer hunting, along with hunters doing their part managing the antlerless deer herd,” said Conservation Officer Heath Packett, one of the hunt coordinators.

Several coordinators and mentors operated the deer camp.

“Deer camp goes well beyond just harvesting deer,” said Aaron Hershberger, Game and Parks outdoor education specialist. “These individuals got to see what it was all about: the fun of being with friends, the challenges of the hunt, the excitement of success, and good food.”

One youth hunter, Drew Hedstrom of Lincoln, said he will never forget shooting his first two deer. “I shot my first deer about 200 yards out, and then the pack came up to our blind about 30 yards away,” he said. “I could have taken my second deer right then, but decided to wait until Saturday. I really had to work hard to get my second deer.”

Tanner Ebeler of Lincoln had a similar experience. “The food was great,” he said. “It was the best hunting trip ever. I got my first two does there in a highly populated deer area.”

Other youths participating in the hunt were Taylor Drahota, Matt Henning, Dane Bowen, Jamie Young, and Jack Young, all of Lincoln, Cody Kaplan and CoDee and Corby Johns of Gordon, and Alex Eisenharth of Chadron.

To learn more about mentored hunts, how to participate, become a mentor, or host a hunt, visit or contact Hershberger at

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