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JAKE's Day triggers enthusiasm

Above, volunteer Chad Eischens helps five-year-old Baylie Kahlstorf steady her bow. Baylie was a natural. Both of her parents hunt. (Sarah Smith/Enterprise)1 / 2
Emma Booth, 11, aims her gun as volunteer Ken Kalish looks on and advises her how to close in on the target. She was one of 35 kids who participated in the JAKE’s Day festivities. (Sarah Smith/Enterprise)2 / 2

Thirty-five youngsters, an equal mix of girls and boys from as far away as Arkansas, honed their hunting skills last weekend at Camp Wilderness on Bad Axe Lake in Hubbard County.  JAKE’s Day is an afternoon seminar designed to teach young hunters rifle and archery skills so they will be prepared when the seasons begin. (A jake is a young turkey.)  Along with the kids, numerous parents accompanied their kids to help out.  Emma Booth and her dad traveled from Arkansas.  Because she’s so involved in school activities, Emma said her hunting time has been limited lately.  

“I’m hoping I can get out more this fall,” said Emma, sounding like a 40-year-old business executive and not an 11-year-old girl.  Volunteer instructors and parents had to teach patience – repeatedly.  They’d be talking to the kids about aiming a gun or arrow and you’d hear the twang or rifle fire before they finished.  

The kids were that impatient to get going.  Instructors patiently gave instructions, tips from their own experiences and a steady hand when needed.  “You want to do this yourself?” instructor Chad Eischens asked Baylie Kahlstorf, whose bow was easily as big as she was.  He had to ask?  The five-year-old shot all the guns and the bow for the first time.  “She was right in there,” mother Amelia said. “She really had a good time.”  Little girls and boys grabbed the weaponry with gusto.  Kahlstorf said both she and her husband deer hunt, so she wanted to ensure Baylie had a safe environment to learn in.  Organizer Samantha Hunter, a DNR conservation officer from Park Rapids, had plenty of expert assistance in the field.  Here is a list of hunting opportunities for youths in Minnesota:  - Youth waterfowl hunt for ages 12-15. Orientation is Friday, Sept. 11, hunt is Saturday, Sept. 12. Hunts near Twin Cities metro, Detroit Lakes, Morris, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Princeton, Sherburn near Windom, and Fergus Falls. Apply by Monday, Aug. 10.  - Youth deer hunts at refuges and state parks. Ages 12-15 in 16 firearms hunts, ages 12-17 in two archery hunts. Hunts and orientations are held on various dates in October and November. Locations at specific wildlife refuges and state parks throughout the state. Apply by Friday, Aug. 14.  - Youth and family upland bird hunt for ages 12-17, and family members who want to hunt together.

Hunts and orientations are Saturday, Oct. 17 or 24. Locations throughout Minnesota. Apply by Tuesday, Sept. 8.  n Youth deer season for ages 10-15. Season is Thursday, Oct. 15, through Sunday, Oct. 18. Permit areas in southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area. Twenty-seven deer permit areas are open to hunt, see hunting regulations book or DNR hunting page at for permit areas.  n Take a Kid Hunting Weekend. From Saturday, Sept. 26, to Sunday, Sept. 27, adult residents, accompanied by a youth under age 16, can hunt small game without a license, but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations.