Every once in awhile, I meet a kid who gives me reassurance that hunting may have a future.
Ben Magers is one of the those. The 15-year-old is the young man on the left, coming off of a Downstate field at noon on opening day for pheasant on Saturday.
The sophomore at Paxton-Buckley-Loda was the core subject in a coming-of-age tale in my outdoor column in the Sun-Times on Wednesday.
Saturday he received the honor of his first invitation to join the big opening-day hunting group assembled by Gerry Rodeen, and loosely associated with the Pioneer chapter of Pheasants Forever, Illinois' first PF chapter established more than 20 years ago.
Magers earned that right.
He is part of the very successful Young Guns program at the Pioneer Chapter level, started just last year. That includes some neat innovations like a laser-shooting game, which is sophisticated enough to teach hunter safety, housed at the Loda Sportsmen's Club.