Youth waterfowl hunt banquet held in Union County

Illinois Department of Natural Resources director Marc Miller traveled to Union County during the holiday season to attend a youth waterfowl hunt banquet.

The banquet was Sunday, Dec. 26, at the Blue Boar Restaurant near Anna.

The banquet was held on the day before the actual youth waterfowl hunt so the young participants could be registered and receive assignments for their hunting blinds.

Miller was keynote speaker at the banquet. He is an advocate for getting young people more involved in outdoor activities, such as hunting and fishing.

Miller said young people represent the future of the sport. He reminded all of those in attendance about the importance of getting more young people involved in outdoor sports.

Miller also praised the efforts of IDNR employees and volunteers who were instrumental in making the youth waterfowl hunt the most successful ever. The hunt is for young people ages 10 to 16.

Jay Williams, who administers IDNR's programs for the disabled and plans other events like the youth hunt, praised volunteer Gene Morgan for all he has done to boost the event.

Morgan helped to expand the event to include hunting clubs in the area by getting many of them to donate pits for the event.

Williams said organizers were determined to see that no child who wanted to hunt this year would be turned away. The efforts paid off. In addition to the hunt and banquet, drawings were held for a rifle, a shotgun, decoys and other items at the youth waterfowl banquet.

A silent auction, which included a lifetime hunting license, was held during the evening.

Andrew Combs, 10, won the lifetime hunting license in the silent auction. Andrew won the license on his birthday.

Wyatt Horn, 13, won a drawing for a shotgun. Jacob Dust, 13, won a gift card for a rifle with a scope.

Champion caller Ryan Wilson, 17, of Karnak, demonstrated his skills. He showed techniques which can contribute to a successful hunt.

Each young person who attended the banquet was given a bag filled with mementos. Each young hunter also received a commemorative cap.

Illinois Conservation Police Officer Steve Vasicek addressed a packed house which attended the youth waterfowl banquet.

Vasicek is game warden for Union and Pulaski counties. He spoke to young hunters about hunting safety and regulations.

Mark Clary received congratulations from IDNR director Marc Miller. Clary was recognized in appreciation of 33 years of service as one of the rangers at the Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area.

Marc Miller thanked Gene Morgan for the work he did to make the 2010 youth duck hunt at the Union County and Horseshoe Lake refuges a success. Morgan is a retired IDNR employee who volunteered to help plan the youth duck hunt.

IDNR director Miller said he hopes that the 2011 hunt will be even bigger. He asked each young hunter to bring a brother, sister or friend with them to this year's hunt.

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