JAKES Day Award Winner, Mentored Hunt Turns 24

The Monocacy Valley Chapter of the Maryland NWTF is known to be an R3 (recruit, retain, revive) powerhouse, hosting an annual enrichment event for local youth.

It’s not uncommon for the local NWTF Monocacy Valley chapter to see over 100 youth attend their annual JAKES Day, and for the event’s 24th year, it was no different, with 108 kids arriving from all over the state for a outdoor learning day, conservation and drawing for the opportunity to participate in a guided spring turkey hunt.

The day began with a morning of trout fishing in a pond stocked for the event. At lunch, all the youngsters received a turkey call. And after everyone had filled up on burgers and hot dogs and whooped their turkey calls for a while, the youngsters broke up into smaller groups and rotated through five stations: Woods Hike, Shotgun Pattern, Archery. , bird dog demonstrations and turkey call.

Monocacy Valley’s JAKES Day bridges the gap between learning about the outdoors and getting out in the field.

“These stations are designed to teach wood skills, turkey hunting strategies, conservation and the importance of knowing your equipment and taking ethical shots,” said Russ Leith, president of the NWTF’s Monocacy Valley chapter. “We really strive to bridge the gap to turn these kids into lifelong hunters and conservationists. That is why we are following this event with the opportunity to hunt.

After a day filled with smiles and learning, chapter volunteers held a raffle to see who would have the chance to participate in the chapter-led turkey hunt, held recently on Maryland Youth Day.

“We took 30 kids hunting this year, 16 of them newbies,” Leith said. “Twelve birds caught, seven of which were fledgling turkeys!”

The chapter and its mentors are known for building relationships with the family of trainees through their JAKES Day event, which has led to chapter mentors taking not just the kids, but the entire family deer and bird hunting. aquatic.

“There’s a reason we’ve been doing this event for so long; it does what it’s designed to do, create hunters for life,” said Lee Jernigan, vice president of the Monocacy Valley chapter. “We look forward to this event every year, and there are no plans to slow it down.”

The local Monocacy Valley Chapter has received national recognition for its JAKES Day event over the years, including receiving its third R3 Award this year at the 2023 NWTF National Convention & Sports Expo.

Established in 1981, NWTF’s JAKES program is dedicated to informing, educating, and engaging youth ages 17 and younger in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of our natural resources. JAKES events help pass on the traditions of responsible hunting, teach principles of habitat management, hunting ethics and safety.

For $10 a yearJAKES receive a one year subscription to JAKES Country magazine (four issues), a chance to win the hunt of a lifetime, and a membership card.

In addition to JAKES Day events, NWTF chapters across the country host various events that engage youth in the great outdoors, including guided hunts for a variety of game species.

Learn how you can get involved as a volunteer with the NWTFeither look for an upcoming JAKES event in your area.