J.A.K.E.S. Day educates young hunters

MINERAL WELLS – Educating the next generation of hunters and outdoors enthusiasts was the aim of the 15th annual J.A.K.E.S. Day on Saturday at the Wood County 4-H Campground.

J.A.K.E.S. stands for “Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and sportsmanship,” said Brent Lambert, president of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Lambert said Saturday’s program, which was for boys and girls from ages 7-17, covered numerous hunting-related activities.

“This refers to the young turkey gobbler called a Jake, so that has to do with our children,” he said. “Our chapter sponsors this, all the children pay a $10 fee.

“This allows them to get out and enjoy the outdoors,” Lambert said. “It’s not all about hunting, it’s about conservation, it’s about safety and appreciation of the outdoors.”

Lambert said the program gives children who may never get a chance to shoot a gun or hold a fishing pole that experience.

“One of the greatest things is we get a lot of help,” he said. “The West Virginia Fur Trappers came along with the West Virginia Bow Hunters and the 4-H grounds and the 4-H Shooting Sports all make this possible.”

In groups, the children had the chance to see trapping equipment, to shoot bows and arrows, to shoot muzzleloaders and to skeet shoot.

“We do a casting competition and the winners get a fishing pole,” he said. “We also have competition-style pellet rifle and a trap range.”

Lambert said about 100 people signed up for the program on Saturday.

“It’s a good time for them to get out,” he said of Saturday’s program. “Of course this year we were blessed with good weather. They get to see a lot of different things with the (Wood County) sheriff’s department S.W.A.T. team.”

Lambert said the children were split into five groups and spent the day in two rotations to events before lunch and then three more rotations to cover all the stations.