Hunting Season Serves Multiple Purposes
When asked what he thought of his water utility hosting a Youth Deer Hunt for 10- to 17-year-old-kids like his son Levi, Joe Chappell didn’t mince words.
“We’re treated like royalty,” says Chappell, who accompanied his 14-year-old on the first of two Youth Deer Hunts hosted by the HCWA at the Walnut Creek Land Application Site (LAS), where treated wastewater is sprayed on over 1,000 acres of wooded forest, providing an ideal habitat for deer and other wildlife. “This hunt is better than some of the professionally guided hunts we’ve been on. It’s a well-run event.”
Every hunter who was drawn through a lottery among the many applicants for this fall’s HCWA Hunting Season seemed to concur. “Just look at all the smiles,” noted one parent, when observing the reaction of the kids who took part in the first HCWA Youth Hunt.
The Authority hosted this first hunt of the season on Saturday Oct. 23, with another Youth Hunt planned for Saturday Nov. 6. Only the kids are allowed to hunt at these events. The HCWA Hunting Season will wrap up with a Veteran’s Hunt on Saturday Nov. 20, when the utility will honor those who have served in the military, the week after the Veteran’s Day Holiday.
Leland Tyler noted that the fellowship with other hunters was a highlight of the Youth Deer Hunt, along with the quality time he was able to spend with his son Gage, who enjoyed hunting on HCWA property so close to home.
“This event is jam up,” said the elder Tyler. “I really enjoy the camaraderie with the group and the good food,” noting the first-class hospitality the HCWA staff offers to its customers who enjoy this annual opportunity for outdoor recreation.
While some hunters are regulars who put their names in for the HCWA Fall Hunting lottery every year, some are experiencing this unique means of public outreach by the Authority for the first time.
Robert Harper (pictured right) has hunted often with his grandson, but this was the first time he had an opportunity to bring him to the HCWA Youth Hunt at Walnut Creek. They were ecstatic when 14-year-old Brayden shot his first deer, after hunting with family for several years now.
“You should have seen how excited he was,” notes the equally happy grandfather. “This event is awesome and so well run; everything they do is top-notch.”
While the HCWA Youth Deer Hunts provide a popular means of outdoor recreation for the public – although only Henry County residents, property owners or HCWA customers can quality for the Fall Hunts -- the events do serve a regulatory and conservation purpose as well.
The Authority’s Land Management Office oversees more than 8,000 acres of protected green space, with a large portion of that including the treated wastewater spray fields, such as the Walnut Creek LAS facility. The Youth Hunts and Veteran Hunt help to manage the deer population to keep the natural habitat healthy, under the watchful eye of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, who oversees the hunts on HCWA property.
All of the participants in the HCWA Youth Hunts attend an orientation and safety meeting prior to being allowed on the Authority’s property. The HCWA staff provided blinds for every hunter, in addition to transportation to and from these sites in the woods and lunch during the day. Southside Sportsman once again served as the premier sponsor of the event.
Captions for Photos
Top photo -- Pic 1:
(L to R) Stephen, Madisyn, Addisyn, and Tiffany Dobbs enjoy this season’s first HCWA Youth Deer Hunt together as a family. The parents accompanied their daughters in this special event where only the youth are allowed to hunt the HCWA Walnut Creek property.
Bottom Photo -- Pic 2
Robert Harper (left) accompanies his grandson Brayden for his first time participating in one of the annual HCWA Youth Deer Hunts.
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