Originally created 09/17/96

Allure of hunting draws teens to woods



Weekends this fall, you'll find C.J. Brown in the woods.

Like hundreds of other area teens, C.J., 13, loves to hunt. In the six years since he shot his first deer, C.J. has killed 27 deer and seven turkeys. He also placed third in the Grand National Turkey Calling Contest.

"I like tracking deer and following turkeys. It's neat to be out in the woods and see all the stuff," said C.J., a student at Jett Middle School in Edgefield County and a right tackle on the school's football team.

He's also a member of the Jakes, a youth club created by the National Wild Turkey Federation. Teens learn about animals, compete and meet other young hunters. The group is open to boys and girls 17 and younger.

The sport of hunting gets going every September and October. Dove- and squirrel-hunting seasons are already open, and deer hunting starts in just a couple weeks.

Before you can get a hunting license, you must go to a three-hour, two-day hunter-education class. A hunting and fishing license costs $9-$10 and can be bought at stores such as Kmart and Wal-Mart and at sporting goods stores.ris The class is required for all- hunters born after Jan. 1, 1961.

For Mike Wilcox, 16, and his friends, hunting is a big part of life in the fall.

The uEvans High School junior is out at hunting clubs in McDuffie and Columbia counties 30 minutes before daylight on Saturdays.

"It gives me a chance to get in the woods and be on my own," said Mike, who has killed 15 deer.

But not everyone feels the same way about hunting.b The Maryland-based Fund For Animals Inc., for example, has put out a video,i What's Wrong with Hunting, that targets teens.

"We believe young people are more caring about the environment and animals. They're not just interested in hunting," said spokesman Mike Markarian.s

The video features Tiffani-Amber Thiessen of Beverly Hills 90210, Craig Paquette of the Kansas City Royals, Baywatch's Alexandra Paul and coach Marv Levy of the Buffalo Bills discussing how shooting animals for fun isn't a sport.

tC.J. and other hunters say that the anti-hunting groups just don't get it. He eats what he kills and is not a vengeful killer of animals, he said.

"It's not all about killing them; it's about being outdoors," C.J. said.

For teens like C.J., hunting is a family tradition.

He was 7 when he shot his first deer from a stand he was sharing with his father. C.J. still enjoys going hunting with his dad and other relatives.

Mike also started hunting with his dad. He was 4 when he first accompanied his father afield, and he was carrying a gun at age 9.

"I'm in it to enjoy it," he said.

Hunter education classes

Here's the schedule for Georgia hunter-education-safety courses. Teens must pass the course before they can purchase a hunting license. Participants are required to attend both sessions, although they can take a class in any county. All classes are 6-9 p.m., except where noted. For more information, call the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at 737-1480 or 595-4211.

BURKE COUNTY
Classes will be held at Burke County Office Park at 1 p.m. on Nov. 10 and Dec. 15. A class will be held at the Sardis Library at 1 p.m. on Oct. 6.

COLUMBIA COUNTY
Classes will be held in the cafeteria of Evans Middle School on Oct. 7-8, Nov. 11-12, Dec. 16-17.

JEFFERSON COUNTY
Classes will be held at Louisville Multi-Purpose Building on Oct. 14-15.

LINCOLN COUNTY
Classes will be held at the Lincolnton Clubhouse on U.S. Highway 378 on Oct. 7-8 and Nov. 11-12. Students must -register in advance by calling 359-4118.

McDUFFIE COUNTY
Classes will be held at Thomson Middle School from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 15-16, Nov. 19-20 and Dec. 10-11.

RICHMOND COUNTY
Classes will be held in the first-floor auditorium of Eisenhower Medical Center, Fort Gordon,uioi on Oct. 9-10, Nov. 13-14, Dec. 11-12 and Jan. 8-9.

WASHINGTON COUNTY
Classes will be held at the ECCI Training Center located on Short 68 across from the forestry office on Oct. 14-15.

Source: Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Office, Thomson.