Who remembers the days, long forgotten now to everything going to virtual, when people would stand around at gas stations during deer season to share hunting stories? Douglas Frazier does.
“Whenever we were kids it was so exciting to go hunting and whether you got a deer or not, it was exciting seeing the deer that everyone else checked in,” reflected Frazier. “Even before I was hunting, I remember being taken up to the gas station and seeing the deer brought in, drinking chocolate milk and eating donuts. I think that’s part of what made my generation and earlier generations so excited about hunting.”
It is from those nostalgic memories that Hillbilly Huntin’s Youth Deer Check-In was born. “We started Hillbilly Huntin’ about ten years ago, shortly after I got out of the military,” shared Frazier. “We noticed as they (Missouri Department of Conservation) changed and went to tele check-you weren’t seeing the deer in town. The numbers were decreasing, in our eyes, because the kids weren’t being exposed to it.”
“It is fun just to listen to people talk about their hunts whether they were successful or not. So we decided, Cheston Alexander and I, that we needed to do something for the community…to I guess, bring back our passion and try to get kids more involved with hunting,” reflected Frazier of the need they saw. “We said, ‘well how can we do that’. Well why don’t we just do what we miss most-because even as an adult, I miss going to the check-ins. So we decided we would just make our own deer check-in.”
“It took us a little while to figure out…how we were going to motivate parents to bring their kids for thirty minutes when all they should have to do is get done hunting, go to the house and process the deer,” shared Frazier.
“We decided to try and pick up sponsors. We had some sponsors in the beginning, not a whole lot in the community, but we reached out to other hunting affiliates and got sponsors. They donated products and stuff like that. Sound Envision in Marshfield was one of the best supporters for it-they donated stickers and stuff to give to the kids,” shared Frazier. “We didn’t know what it was going to turn in to.”
“Through out the years we’ve had parents contact us and tell us how much it meant, not only to them, but to their kids when they got to see how excited we got about them bringing in their deer,” Frazier reflected over the years of kids they’ve seen check-in deer.
Not only does Hillbilly Huntin’ see a wide range of does, button bucks and full grown buck with tremendous racks, they’ve also been able to impact the lives of several kids throughout the area.
“We had a kid that his grandpa had always taken him hunting. He died shortly before deer season and it was going to be the first deer season the kid was going to hunt without his grandpa. He didn’t really want to hunt…he ended up using grandpa’s gun and shot a really nice buck…but you could still tell talking to him that he was excited about the deer but it didn’t mean the same. We sat there and talked to the kid about it…for us it’s about impacting the kids.” reflected Frazier.
“It’s funny getting to see these kids grow through out the years. I see them 15 or 20 minutes once a year, yet I still remember the kids. It’s really cool to see them…especially when they start really young…,” shared Frazier.
Another story Frazier shared was about a boy who was very un-social and didn’t have a lot to do with him mom. “There was a kid that lived with grandma and grandpa. He was a very quiet, un-social kid. Didn’t have a lot to do with him mom…he ended up shooting the biggest deer that year and his mom came down. We talked to him, interviewed him on camera, took pictures-he got to ride in the Fourth of July parade with us with his deer. It brought his mom and grandparents and him back together,” reflected Frazier. “We’ve made life-long friends with this little kid…his grandparents said after the interactions with us it completely changed his life. That means a lot-if we can impact one kid and make a different in one kids life, we are doing something.”
When the Hillbilly Huntin’ team isn’t doing youth check-in, you’ll find them the rest of the season creating videos about various hunting topics from setting trail cameras to how to set up your blind. You can find those videos on their website: hillbillyhuntin.com.
The Hillbilly Huntin’ Youth Deer Check-In happens each year during youth deer season. Frazier says they are there from sunrise until kids are done hunting for the day. There could be anywhere from 3 people just hanging out to 15 or 20. The check-in takes place on October 29 and 30 this year and is held at the Mossy Oak Property building at 203 West Hubble Drive, Marshfield, MO.
There is no fee to participate in the check-in process. The team will be giving away shirts this year. They also received products donated from Scent Thief for giveaway items. “We will have our video camera there so that the kids that want to talk about their hunt, they can talk. We will take pictures of all the deer. If it’s a buck we will score it’s antlers and let them know how big it is,” explained Frazier. “…we love what we do and get no profit out of it. Anything we sell goes back into Hillbilly Huntin’ so that we can do more stuff each year…it’s about the kids. That’s our focus-giving an experience to the kids that will last longer than their hunt did.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here