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Fathers, sons bond during Sutter junior pheasant hunt
Wyatt Prather knows this is his year to bag a pheasant.
The 9-year-old Live Oak boy didn't get his pheasant on Saturday at the Yuba-Sutter Fish and Game's annual Junior Apprentice Pheasant Hunt, but that didn't dampen his confidence.
"I haven't gotten anything, yet, but I'm trying to," young Wyatt said. "It's going to happen."
Wyatt was one of dozens of kids who took a shot at the traditional youth hunt over the weekend at the Nelson Slough Unit of the Feather River Wildlife Area.
While it was a little unclear exactly how long the apprentice hunt has existed, it is a long-standing tradition in Sutter County.
Wyatt's father, Brandon, went hunting for the first time more than 20 years ago at the same event.
"It's a great event," Brandon Prather said. "It gives the kids a chance to learn and it gives me time with my son."
Young hunters learn about hunter and gun safety while spending time outdoors at one of the largest hunts in the state.
About 300 pheasants were planted Saturday and Sunday. More birds will be planted again next weekend when the event resumes.
With the help of Abbie, an 8-year-old English pointer who scared up several large birds, Wyatt and the other kids had plenty of chances over the weekend.
Steve Nichols brought his 13-year-old son, Kevin, out for the second year in a row.
"I've come with my older boy, too, and we will usually camp out in the parking lot and have a steak barbecue," Nichols said.
Nichols not only instructed his son on the finer points of shooting, he also plotted a menu for the pheasants he hoped his son would bag. Nichols' favorite recipe, he said, involves slicing open a jalapeno pepper and stuffing it with cream cheese and marinated pheasant meat.
"Then you tie a strip of bacon around it and barbecue it over coals and (alder) wood until it's crispy," Nichols explained.
Kevin Nichols teamed up with Yuba City's Austin Johnson to take down a large pheasant early Saturday. The bird was shot twice and tumbled out of the sky.
"Shooting the birds is my favorite part," 10-year-old Austin said. Austin's father, Chris, said his own favorite part of the event was just getting to spend time with his son.
"It's just good for us to be out here," Chris Johnson said.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.