Technology, teens and wildlife merge in special youth hunt

Take 10 teenage girls from the Medina Children’s Home all with various backgrounds and pair them up with 10 volunteers from the Heart of Texas and you get a weekend of laughs and new friends. The Texas Game Warden’s Association (TGWA) Youth Hunt program hosted a group of young ladies last weekend, and assisted by a bevy of volunteers, gave some of the girls their first ever hunting experience in the Texas Hill Country. The program is part of a plan by the TGWA to inform the general public about wildlife and firearms issues, as well as teaching Texas youth about wildlife management, hunting safety and the great outdoors. Working in tandem with landowners Kyle and Dawn Capps of Pear Valley, McCulloch County game wardens Tim Moorman and Frank Luna organized a weekend of outdoor learning and activity for the visiting teenagers. With the help of 10 area women and numerous other volunteers who have an appreciation for the outdoors, the Capps provided hunts for the girls, giving them an opportunity to learn about land and game management and even how high technology can play a part in ranch and game management. Arriving in Lohn Friday evening accompanied by house parents Mr. and Mrs. Randy James, the ladies were treated to a hamburger supper and introduced to the Capps as well as the ladies with whom they would be hunting. Those local ladies who volunteered their time and effort as personal guides were: Camille Curry, Elisha Schumann, Gigi Harris, Sandy Howell, Mackye Johnson, Lee Broad, Karen McWilliams, Angie Morris, Donna Wilke and Laura Helberg. An early wakeup call Saturday morning was followed by a light predawn snack as the pairs of hunters headed to the field. Some were fortunate and saw and harvested some animals during the morning hunt. Others took naps in their blinds as the late night left them struggling to stay awake. The 9 a.m. pickup time brought everyone back to the main campsite where stories were swapped over a campfire and a good ol’ fashioned Texas breakfast. “This was a trip that we have done several years in the past, but this is the first time we have come to McCulloch County,” said James. “All of the game we harvest is taken back to the home and processed and used over the next year.” While at the Capps ranch, the girls as well as the guides and volunteers were given the opportunity to see how the Capps use wireless solar-powered video cameras to observe realtime video of feeders and hunting stands located at various locations throughout the ranch. As a network designer, Capps has been developing the technology that he hopes to eventually market that will allow game managers to broadcast live video over the internet. From under a tent several hundred feet from the network located in his home, he showed how using a computer, he could look at any of several spots covered by the remote cameras. H Originated in 1956 and sponsored by the Church of Christ, the Medina Children’s Home is a non-profit home for boys and girls six to 18 years of age and is funded mostly by private donations. This year is the first year the McCulloch game wardens have participated in the youth hunt program and according to Moorman, they hope to continue in years to come. Founded in 1979, the Texas Game Warden Association was established as a fraternal and representative association with the purpose of advancing the ideas, ideals, and welfare of the game wardens of Texas. Today, the Texas Game Warden Association’s membership is approximately 5,500 persons comprised of game wardens, retired game wardens, sportsmen, sportswomen and conservationists throughout the state and nation. TGWA has a long and successful record of educating the youth of Texas in wildlife management, hunting and water safety, principles of conservation, and respect for the game and property laws of Texas.

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