Kaden Coons and his “Pappaw,” Fritz Basham, have been hunting and fishing together since Kaden was 5 years old. At age 6, on a hunting trip with his grandfather, Kaden referred to the outdoors as “nature’s playground.”
Basham loves taking his only grandchild, now 8, out for one-on-one time, so they can make lasting memories, but Saturday they let other family members tag along. Basham, Kaden, his mom and grandmother attended the Take a Kid Outdoors event at the Daviess County Gun Club for the third year in a row.
The event, part of Kids’ Outdoor Adventures, is a collaboration among the Daviess County Conservation District, Daviess County Parks & Recreation and Daviess County 4-H. The event aims to bring kids out who don’t normally have experience with guns or bows and arrows. Gun safety was also a big part of the occasion.
As participants arrived, they were taught a lesson in gun safety by Matt Schneider, who, along with his wife, Bethany, owns the gun club. Then the kids were offered the opportunity to shoot their choice of air rifle, .22-caliber rifle, 20-gauge shotgun or bow and arrow. Until this year, Take Your Kid Outdoors only offered guns for sport at the event. But after requests from parents who attended previous years’ events, two archery stations were added. Purchasing the bows and arrows was made possible through a grant from the National Rifle Association, according to Connie Mills, administrative secretary for the Daviess County Conservation District.
In addition to shooting and archery activities, the day also provided participants an opportunity to interact with and hold some of nature’s creatures. Near one of the display tables, Addison Beg comfortably carried around a bearded dragon, hugging it close to her chest, despite this being the first time she had held one. The animal, along with non-venomous snakes, spiders, toads and turtles were all provided by Brad Reynolds of Real Science Programs.
At another table, William Bruner and his daughter, Madalyn, 19, were proudly sharing their collection of animal traps and hides of animals they had captured over the years. The father-daughter duo hunts and traps together, as well as the preparation of the hides. One hide they showed was that of an albino otter, which the Missouri Department of Fish and Wildlife told them only occurs in about 1 out of every 500,000 otters.
The Schneiders say they love hosting events like this at the gun club. The club, open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., offers trap, skeet or sporting clay shooting. The club is also available for other events such as family reunions, birthday or bachelor parties, corporate events, fundraisers and training classes.