The Rome chapter of Ducks Unlimited and Georgia Department of Natural Resources will join forces Saturday for the annual DU Youth and Outdoors Greenwing shooting event at Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area, 2502 Floyd Springs Road.

Youngsters will have a chance to participate in BB gun shooting, archery, .410 gauge shotgun firing at still targets, and .20 gauge shotgun firing on the skeet range. Kids will be divided into appropriate age groups for participation.

"This introduces youth to the shooting sports. Across the United States, as a whole, we're losing adult hunters at a pretty good clip," said DU District Director David Culp of Rome. "The kids are not taking up hunting, not hunting with their dads or uncles. We're trying to keep the sport alive and introduce kids to it in a controlled atmosphere."

DNR Wildlife biologist David Gregory said members of the Region One Game Management staff will be on hand to assist with safety programming along with DNR Law Enforcement staff personnel.

"We are really seeking to recruit youth to the hunting experience," Gregory said. "As a hunter they are more likely to become familiar with our resources and have a better understanding of our natural resources." 

Youth will all be exposed to the Outdoor Education Center at Arrowhead as part of the event as well. Culp said that in addition to exposing youngsters to hunting experience, one of the major things he hopes children and their parents take away from the event is the importance of wetlands conservation, which is one of the driving forces behind Ducks Unlimited.

AGC Pediatrics of Calhoun has come on as a major sponsor for the event this year.

There is a $15 fee, but that includes a DU Greenwing membership, tee-shirt and pizza lunch Saturday. The event is open to boys and girls 17 and under. Registration will begin at 9 a.m., activity starts around 10 and will end around 2 p.m. Adults can participate in lunch for $5.  

The two big lakes at the Arrowhead compound will also be open for fishing. Youth must be accompanied by an adult with a valid fishing license. Anglers are encouraged to use heavy line if they plan to fish Saturday since some of the catfish in the lakes can easily weigh-in at six to eight pounds. 

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