11-year-old Garrett Martin of Kingman shows the pheasant he bagged at the High Desert Hunt Club at Cordes Junction. Garrett was a honor graduate of his Kingman hunter education class and was selected to participate in the all expenses paid hunt.
One of the comments I make as the Master Instructor of the Arizona Hunter Education class to the students who take the class is, "You will not be rewarded for bad behavior."
For those who strive to do well by paying attention in class, doing their homework and not causing any problems for the cadre of volunteer instructors, there is an award.
Instructors collectively nominate four students to attend an all expenses paid pheasant hunting trip near Cordes Junction at the High Desert Hunt Club, courtesy of several conservation groups and the Arizona Game & Fish Department.
In class R-2-2011, which was held in July and August, 11-year-old Garrett Martin was selected as one of those students.
He was nominated along with three others for honor graduate status.
However, being nominated doesn't always mean being selected to go on the hunt.
Just like in the regular big game drawings, they are entered into a random drawing with all of the other kids from around the state who have also received similar honors in other hunter education classes.
For many young sportsmen like Garrett, it was the first time they have ever participated in a random draw.
As luck would have it, Garrett was selected to participate in the hunt and on Jan. 7, he along with 19 other young hunters went into the field on their fully guided and outfitted pheasant hunt.
Before Garrett went on the hunt, he did a lot of preparation. Kayla Martin, Garrett's mother, and her husband, Clay, bought a hand target thrower so Garrett could practice at moving targets.
Garrett had never hunted birds before, so practice was necessary to ensure that he would have the opportunity to bag one of the Chinese Ringneck pheasants that are in the field.
Garrett was accompanied on the hunt by his father, Clay.
Once at the hunting club, Garrett had to demonstrate to the instructors that he indeed knew how to safely handle a shotgun.
Then it was time to go hunting. Each young hunter was accompanied by a hunter education instructor, a professional dog handler and a well-trained bird dog.
For two hours, Garrett and his mentors sought ought the wily pheasant. Garrett was lucky and successfully bagged a beautiful bird.
There is a new hunter education class starting on Friday at the 7 Mile Hill range.
Four of those youngsters who are taking it will be nominated for this same award providing they perform at the level we expect from them.
3250 E. Kino Ave 2nd FL
Kingman, AZ 86409