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From left, Chuck Adams, Xane May, William Mello and Parker White, volunteers with Cross Trail Outfitters, a Christian hunting organization, wait for youth hunters to check in with their buck or doe during the seventh annual Big Buck and Big Doe contest Nov. 2 and 3 at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Missouri’s fall firearms deer season ended Tuesday, and area youths had plenty of encouragement to get out in the fresh air and bag a buck or doe. 

Before the start of the regular season was youth season, which allowed people ages 6 through 15 a chance to get out early and try their hand at hunting. Here in Marshfield, Cross Trail Outfitters and Whitetail Properties offered their seventh annual Youth Big Buck and Big Doe contests on Nov. 2 and 3 at the Webster County Fairgrounds, with $1,000 in prizes awarded in various categories.

Youth were invited to check in at the fairgrounds with tagged and fully field dressed deer for weigh in.

The Mail caught up with the volunteers staffing the weigh-in station Sunday night. One of these, Chuck Adams, explained that the contest provided a little incentive and added fun for young hunters.

“It’s just a friendly competition for kids,” Adams said.

Cross Trail Outfitters is a Christian hunting organization for boys ages 7-20, according to the organization’s Facebook page — but girls are welcome to participate in the Big Buck and Big Doe contests.

Adams called it a good organization. “We fellowship with them,” he said. “It’s a Christian-based organization. We’re not jamming religion down their throats, though — we’re there to mentor them and answer questions, and maybe to put a bug in their ear about making the right decisions.”

Parker White, 18, of Republic, is a member of the group and was on hand to help with weigh-ins. “I just like seeing all the kids bring deer,” he said. “Some of the kids who come here come to our outings later.”

Adams clearly enjoys encouraging kids to hunt through CTO. “You see those kids get so shook because of excitement they almost drop their gun out of the blind — and when the deer’s down, they can’t hardly talk,” he said. “It’s good clean fun for these kids.”

William Mello, 18, of Willard, said that it’s good to get kids outside. “It really lets them roam and lets them see what there is out there,” Mello said.

And what there is, according to Xane May, 17, of Marshfield, is pretty great. “When I’m out in the woods I feel safe almost,” he said. “I go to the woods as much as I can, just to get away from it all.”

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