Kynlee Buras of Livingston and Evan Alderson of Sulphur have been selected as the 2018 Louisiana Female and Male Youth Hunters of the Year. The Youth Hunter of the Year Program is a joint effort with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana Wildlife Federation and Louisiana Outdoors Writers Association.
Buras and Alderson will receive their awards at the 55th Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Ashley Manor in Baton Rouge, which is hosted by Louisiana Wildlife Federation.
The Youth Hunter of the Year program is made possible by the generous donations from Baton Rouge Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, Andrew Harrison, Jr with Harrison Law, LLC, Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge, Outdoor Roots, and South LA Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association. The winners will be featured in a story in an upcoming edition of Marsh and Bayou magazine.
Buras, 8 and the female winner, proved during her two November 2018 deer hunting trips with father, Rusty, that you don’t necessarily have to bring anything home for it to be successful. On both trips while hunting in Utica, Mississippi, Kynlee and Rusty saw deer but didn’t couldn’t harvest one.
On their initial trip, the duo saw a doe before arriving at the deer stand but were not in a position to get off a shot. They waited about an hour and 20 minutes in the deer stand with no success when Kynlee told her father she was tired and had had enough.
The second trip was more of a success but the father-daughter duo still wasn’t able to harvest a deer. After about 30 minutes in the deer stand, four deer appeared.
“I was flabbergasted when I saw them,’’ Kynlee said. “I got ready to shoot but the deer must have heard me because all of them ran away.’’
Later, a doe appeared and Rusty advised Kynlee to wait until it came closer to the stand. But it never did. Nevertheless, Kynlee said both trips have helped to turn her into a deer hunter.
“I was sad (that they weren’t able to harvest a deer),’’ Kynlee said. “But I can’t wait to go hunting next year. The two main reasons that I enjoy hunting are that I get to admire God’s beautiful creation and spend time with my daddy. I will treasure those moments forever.’’
Alderson, 11 and the male winner, was successful on his first hunt, which occurred on Nov. 24, 2018. Alderson took a squirrel hunting trip with his uncle, Mark Bloodworth, and cousin, Mason Bloodworth, on Mark’s hunting lease in Slagle.
His first shot was true but it wasn’t a squirrel.
“As we were walking I thought I saw a squirrel on a tree and I shot at it only to discover that it was actually a bump on the tree,’’ Alderson said. “Uncle Mark said, ‘I think you just shot a tree.’ It was good practice shooting, I guess.’’
Later that morning, Alderson thought he spotted a squirrel. This time it actually was and he was able to harvest game on his first hunt, using his uncle’s 20-gauge shotgun.
“I started shaking and shot at it,’’ Alderson said. “I was so excited that I kept shaking more and more. It fell out of the tree.’’
Afterward, the trio went back and cleaned the squirrel.
“I helped skin it,’’ Alderson said. “Uncle Mark put it in the freezer for later. A few months later, he had enough squirrels to make a squirrel gumbo. It was delicious.’’
The 2019 Youth Hunter of the Year contest application will be available this fall.