Louisiana Youth Hunters of the Year Named

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The recipients of the inaugural Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association's (LOWA) 2007 Youth Hunters of the Year Award both have something in common - both were prominently featured in outdoor publications in 2008.

The 2007 Male Youth Hunter of the Year, Chris "Green" Campbell, of Shreveport and 14 at the time of his hunt, was in the February 2008 issue of North American Whitetail for his record breaking Louisiana non-typical whitetail. The 2007 Female Youth Hunter of the Year, Anna Helm, of Baton Rouge and also 14 at the time of her hunt, graced the cover of the Louisiana 2008 Turkey Regulations pamphlet with her 17-pound Eastern wild turkey. They also received media attention across the state in the Baton Rouge Advocate, Opelousas Daily World and Louisiana Sportsman magazine.

LOWA Board Chairman Gordon Hutchinson and LOWA member and retired Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Wildlife Biologist and Wildlife Division Administrator Dave Moreland were on hand to present the awards at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission's Aug. 7 meeting. Both youth hunters received plaques as rewards of their achievement and gift certificate to Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge.

"LOWA is always interested in ways to involve the youth in outdoor related activities," said Hutchinson. "We feel this will be another contest we can build to the level of the successful Youth Outdoor Journalism contest."

After seeing the record breaking deer from pictures captured by his motion sensing camera near his stand in Caddo Parish, Campbell was finally able to cross paths with the 265 pound deer on Oct. 23, 2007. Campbell said he was very nervous before finally being able to get a clear shot, dropping the deer to the ground with his grandfather's .45 CVA muzzleloader rifle. However, after hearing Campbell scream in excitement, the deer got back up and ran away down a trail. Campbell was able to track the deer and find his final resting place and then call his family and friends about his record-breaking hunt.

Helm, daughter of retired LDWF Waterfowl Biologist Robert Helm, was on a youth turkey hunt with her father on the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area when she spotted a gobbler her father couldn't see yet. She raised her gun and took aim, but said she couldn't hold it steady so her father placed his hand under the barrel to provide some stability. Her father, now being able to see what his daughter had found, said to fire and she did with a perfect shot. Helm's turkey sported an 8 3/8 inch beard.

Campbell's buck scored a 203 5/8 in the non-typical category based on the Boone & and Crockett scoring system. The deer is officially listed in the All-Time Boone and Crockett Record Book and the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association Big Game Records Program and it is the new Louisiana state record for non-typical whitetail deer taken with a muzzleloader rifle.

These awards stem from the Youth Hunter Registry Program started in 2007 by LDWF and LOWA. This program was designed to recognize youth hunters 15 years of age and younger in Louisiana providing them with an opportunity to share their deer and turkey hunts with the hunting community. Youths are issued certificates and published in the Louisiana Big Game Newsletter. To see the big game newsletter or to register for next years youth hunter program, visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/biggamehunts.

"This past February, the department and LOWA decided to take the program to another level by recognizing male and female youth hunters of the year," Moreland said. "The goal of this annual recognition is to help promote hunting and recruitment of young hunters across the state."

The two winners will also be recognized at LOWA's annual conference in Morgan City in October.

Sponsors of the program include: Bayou State Bowhunters Association, Louisiana National Wild Turkey Federation, South Louisiana Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, and Bowie Outfitters.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.louisiana.gov.