2017-09-21 / Outdoors

Youth Hunt success a mixed bag

Warm weather leads to spotty weekend for Youth Hunt, Liberty Hunt participants


GRACE NOONAN, 9, shot her first deer — an 8-point buck — in Kasson Township on Sunday with her dad, Ryan Noonan. GRACE NOONAN, 9, shot her first deer — an 8-point buck — in Kasson Township on Sunday with her dad, Ryan Noonan. By all accounts it wasn’t perfect, or even good, deer hunting weather.

But nonetheless, many young hunters across the Leelanau Peninsula put venison in the freezer during the state’s early Youth and Liberty hunts.

“We saw no deer on Saturday, maybe because it was warm or the south wind,” said Greg Julian of Maple City, who was out with his daughter, 14-year-old Lily. “We saw five deer total on Sunday. The deer she shot was a mature doe, and she made a good shot from 104 yards on a solid rest. The deer dropped in its tracks.”

It was Lily’s third deer, all does. She would have liked to hold out for a buck, but deer movement was scarce in daytime temperatures that hit 81 degrees Saturday and 78 Sunday in Maple City.


LILY JULIAN, who was pictured in last week’s paper with a doe she shot during the 2016 youth hunt, took down another doe on Sunday while hunting in Maple City with her dad, Greg Julian. LILY JULIAN, who was pictured in last week’s paper with a doe she shot during the 2016 youth hunt, took down another doe on Sunday while hunting in Maple City with her dad, Greg Julian. “We heard a few shots, but there’s not a lot of hunters out during that early season, and that’s one of the nice things about it. There’s not a lot of competition, you can hunt your spots and generally the deer will be there if you are patient,” said Greg Julian, a hunter’s education instructor with the Cedar Rod and Gun Club.

Julian, who’s observed little change in the Leelanau County deer population, said after conversing with parents of other young hunters that success over the weekend seemed to be spotty.

“I talked to a few people yesterday and today who didn’t shoot any deer. And I talked to a few who shot nice bucks," he said. A friend of mine’s daughter shot a nice one in the national park.”

Over in Bingham Township, meanwhile, the Kohler family has filled the freezer after dropping two bucks on Sunday night.

Avery Kohler, a St. Mary senior and a two-sport athlete for Suttons Bay this fall, was too old for the Youth Hunt but took younger brother Jesse Kohler, 12, out to the woods.

“It was kind of cute seeing Avery all excited to take him out,” said their mom, Mandy Kohler.

And while Jesse Kohler was busy dropping a 3-point buck, 14-year-old brother Matthew Kohler took down a 7-point in the backyard while hunting with father Christopher Kohler.

“They were very excited,” Mandy Kohler said.

The Enterprise staff will continue to accept photos from the Youth and Liberty Hunts through Monday for publication in next Thursday’s paper.

Attach and email photos and information (date, township, distance, age of Youth Hunt participant, etc.) to jason@leelanaunews.com.

Deer hunting continues on Sunday, Oct. 1, with the start of archery season.

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